Greek Master Class

Various Authors


This bundle consisting of six books is sold at 20% off the regular price for its individual titles.


Book — Ajax by Sophocles, adapted by Robert Auletta

A modern adaptation of AJAX set at the Pentagon with corrupt, power-mad generals who censor information and revel in blood.

Book — Antigone by Sophocles, adapted by Gregory Mosher

Kreon, the king of Thebes, has decreed that his nephew, the rebel soldier Polynices, will lie where he died in battle, as food for the birds and dogs. But Polynices' sister Antigone gives him a proper burial, even knowing that Kreon's penalty is death by stoning. Kreon's son Hamon, who is engaged in marriage to Antigone, pleads for her life, but is rebuffed by his father, and Hamon renounces him. The fortune-teller Tiresias warns Kreon that his son will die by the end of the day — dead for the dead — and the Chorus persuades the shaken Kreon to relent and save Antigone. But it is too late. Both Antigone and Hamon have killed themselves.

Book — Crazed Women (The Bakkhai) by Euripides, translated by Laurence Senelick

Of the hundred or so plays Euripides wrote in his lifetime only nineteen survive. Not all of them won first prize at the festivals, but BAKKHAI did.

Book — Oedipus the King by Sophocles, translated from the Greek by Laurence Senelick

First performed around 430 BCE, Sophocles’ OEDIPUS THE KING remains as shocking a tragedy as it must have been to the ancient Greeks. Thwarted by the will of the gods and fate, Oedipus rises to become King of Thebes by killing his father and marrying this mother, thus fulfilling the prophecy that he has sought to avoid.

Book — The Oresteia by Aeschylus, adapted by Robert Auletta

This collection includes three full-length plays: AGAMEMNON, THE LIBATION BEARERS, and THE EUMENIDIES, collectively known as THE ORESTEIA. In AGAMEMNON, the title character, having sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia, to win the battle of Troy, returns to Argos. His wife, Clytaemnestra, murders him while her lover, Aegisthus, who will soon assume the throne, looks on. In THE LIBATION BEARERS Agamemnon’s daughter Electra mourns her father’s death. Her brother, Orestes, returns to Argos to kill their mother and stepfather, now king, and avenge their father’s death. In THE EUMENIDIES Orestes, trying to escape the vengeance of the Furies, is rescued by the gods and ordered to stand trial in a democratic court in Athens. He is acquitted, and the Furies are transformed and civilized to end the cycle of violence.

Book — The Persians by Aeschylus, adapted by Robert Auletta

The first surviving play in the history of Western drama, THE PERSIANS represents a courageous act on the part of its author. The subject of Aeschylus’s play was, in part, the conquering of the Persians by the Greeks, but he presented that event to his Greek audience not from their point of view, but from that of the defeated Persians. In this modern version of the play, Robert Auletta shifts the action of the play from Persia to the Iraq of the first Gulf War, and like Aeschylus, asks Americans to question and challenge their views of the enemy.


Mimesis, catharsis, peripeteia. Oedipus, Ajax, Antigone. The Greeks gave us both the building blocks of Western drama and some of its most epic heroes.

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Press Quotes


“Sophocles’s AJAX has been adapted by Robert Auletta into a contemporary American play set in front of the Pentagon after the triumphant conclusion of a major Latin American war from which the United States has emerged victorious. This is a world where shame is worse than death. Ajax dies like a samurai on his sword and the Greek generals gather to dishonor his body. Odysseus talks them out of it. The man was a hero after all.” —Dan Sullivan, Los Angeles Times


“From the outset, it is essential to understand that in Greek theater, as in fact in Shakespearean theater, the self that is really at stake is to be identified with the male, while the woman is assigned the role of the radical other.” —Froma I Zeitlin

“Intoxicatingly beautiful, coldly sordid, at one moment baffling, at the next thrilling us with the mystic charm of wood and hillside, this drama stands unique among Euripides’s works.” —Gilbert Norwood

“… a tragic parody of a comic theme, which we have in THE BACCHAE [THE BAKKHAI], is really troublesome, and furthermore rare before our time and the great use of it by Samuel Beckett … THE BACCHAE makes it plain that some uses of comedy do not diminish tragedy or ‘relieve’ it but indeed augment it.” —Donald Sutherland

“The most obvious influence of Euripides’s BAKKHAI on Christian mythology lies in its concept of Dionysos as the suffering Son of God.” —Arthur Evans

“Sometimes Euripides seems like a religious man, and again, like a charlatan. Of course he was neither. He was a playwright.” —John Jay Chapman


“The plot of the play consists of nothing other than the gradual rising and artistically protracted revelation — similar to the work of psychoanalysis — that Oedipus is himself the murderer of Laius, but also the son of the murdered man and Jocasta. King Oedipus, who has slain his father and married his mother, is only the wish-fulfillment of our childhood.” —Sigmund Freud, Interpretation of Dreams

“To me personally, Oedipus is a kind of symbol of the human intelligence, which cannot rest until it has solved all the riddles — even the last riddle, to which the answer is that human happiness is built on an illusion.” —E R Dodds

“The histrionic basis of Sophocles’ art is what makes it so crucial an instance of the art of the theater in its completeness.” —Francis Fergusson

“Oedipus is a man totally committed to his own freedom to be who he thinks he must be, to live up to his own notion of heroic greatness. He’s Oedipus, whose greatness manifests itself in being totally true to itself, without duplicity.” —Ian Johnstone


“THE ORESTEIA is the granddaddy of domestic-violence drama, and that’s hardly Greek to us. The 2,500 year-old Aeschylean trilogy — on which Sonny kills Mom and her love, who made sword meat of Dad — is as American as apple pie … Auletta — whose own works include WALK THE DOG WILLIE, RUNDOWN, and the Obie-winning STOPS and VIRGINS — seems an odd collaborator for Aeschylus. But he is in fact an old hand at diddling with old Greeks. He has adapted both Sophocles’s AJAX and Aeschylus’s THE PERSIANS for Peter Sellars. He also adapted Georg Büchner’s DANTON’S DEATH for Robert Wilson.” —Carolyn Clay, Phoenix (Boston)

“… I very like very much the truncated colloquial that you’ve worked out. It’s better than Ezra [Pound] managed and it’s just right for the purpose you have, to provide a fast moving text for the stage …” —letter from James Laughlin, New Directions

“… Auletta’s script glistens with old strokes highlighting rather than detracting from Aeschylus …” —Ed Siegel, The Boston Globe


“In Aeschylus’ contrarian tragedy THE PERSIANS, the titular enemies of the author’s native Greece are to be pitied more than censured after their bloody defeat at Greek hands … Robert Auletta’s slickly poetic adaptation moves the action to the Gulf War, deftly shoehorning bloodcurdling descriptions of modern weaponry into the Persian laments and exchanging references to the Greeks for references to the United States. The chorus speaks of ‘velocity bows and razor swords that can laser the heart out of a man’s chest,’ and much of its dialogue is a litany of exotic ordnance from recent wars in the Middle East. ‘Have we taken too much?’ asks the deposed Queen Atossa … as she contemplates what her country has done to deserve its fate. ‘Have we gone beyond some unknown but sacred line?’ She and her compatriots express remorse for their wrongs, in the process describing our own current state of affairs (‘Is the power of what we own about to destroy us?’) and emphasizing how much we might have in common with our enemies … THE PERSIANS’ best moments are also its most horrifying, including an eloquent, metered blow-by-blow account of the effects of a 5,000-pound bomb on the human body. The bait-and-switch approach to classic political theater is a risky one, sometimes sacrificing subtlety in service of a dated statement, but Auletta mostly pulls it off, forcing sympathy with the rankest of villains …” —Sam Thielman, Washington City Paper

About the Author


  • Aeschylus

    Known as "The Father of Tragedy," Aeschylus was born circa 525 BCE in Eleusis, northwest of Athens. As a youth, he worked in a vineyard and fought in The Persian Wars. He wrote his first play around the age of 26. Of the estimated 70 to 90 plays he wrote, seven have survived: THE PERSIANS, SEVEN AGAINST THEBES, THE SUPPLIANTS, THE ORESTEIA trilogy, consisting of AGAMEMNON, THE LIBATION BEARERS, and THE EUMENIDES, and PROMETHEUS BOUND, whose authorship is disputed. All of Aeschylus's extant tragedies won first prize at the Dionysia, the annual dramatic contest held in Athens. He is believed to have died circa 455 BCE.

  • Euripides

    Euripides (c. 480 – 406 BCE) was a tragedian of classical Athens. He became one of the best-known and most influential dramatists in classical Greek culture; of his 90 plays, 19 have survived. His most famous tragedies, which reinvent Greek myths and probe the darker side of human nature, include MEDEA, THE BACCHAE, HIPPOLYTUS, ALCESTIS, and THE TROJAN WOMEN.

  • Sophocles

    Sophocles (c. 496 – 406 BCE) was the most celebrated of the ancient Greek tragedians. Of Sophocles' more than 120 plays, only seven have survived in their entirety, the most famous of which feature Oedipus and Antigone and are generally known as the Theban plays.

  • Robert Auletta

    Robert Auletta's plays have been produced at many theaters, including The Yale Repertory Theater, Joseph Papp's Public Theater, The American Repertory Theater, The Production Company, PS 122, Café La Mama, and the Westbank Downstairs Theater Bar, where many of his one acts were first performed. His play AMAZONS helped open The Market Theater in Cambridge, MA in 2000. Previous to that, his modern versions of Aeschylus's THE ORESTEIA and Molière's TARTUFFE, both directed by the French/Swiss director Francois Rochaix, were produced in the same city by the American Repertory Theater during their 1995/96 season. Two of his one acts, STOPS/VIRGINS, were awarded a Village Voice Obie for distinguished playwriting in 1983. His modern version of Sophocles' AJAX, directed by Peter Sellars in 1986, was performed in America at both the Kennedy Center and the La Jolla Playhouse, and to great acclaim in many theaters in Europe. It also received The Hollywood Drama-Logue Critics Award, and was filmed by Dutch television It has subsequently been shown at various film festivals in Greece. His Gulf War version of Aeschylus' THE PERSIANS, directed by Peter Sellars in 1993, received both controversy and acclaim in many productions both in America and abroad; causing a heated reaction at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. It was produced again in 2005 by the Scena Theater in Washington, D.C., with an entirely different reaction from the audience. It was first published by Sun and Moon Press and recently reprinted by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. They also printed a collection of his plays, and later his version of Georg Büchner's DANTON'S DEATH, directed by Robert Wilson at the Alley Theater in Houston TX, and later at the Berliner Ensemble. He has received two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, a New York State Foundation Grant, and has been awarded residencies in various art colonies, including The MacDowell Colony, Ledig House, The Millay Colony, and Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. He taught at the Yale School of Drama for five years on various occasions, for thirteen summers at The Harvard Expository Writing Program, and continues to teach at The School of Visual Arts in New York City, and recently at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. Since 2008 his short play RABBITS, which is published in PLAYS BY ROBERT AULETTA, has been enjoying another life as a twenty-minute film starring Jessica Hecht and Christopher McCann. For over seven years it has been seen all over the world, including in Russia and China, where it has played on occasion to over 100,000 viewers a week.

  • Gregory Mosher

    Gregory Mosher is a director and producer of over 200 plays at the Lincoln Center and Goodman Theatres (both of which he led), on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, and in the West End. Colleagues have included playwrights Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Richard Nelson, John Guare, and Edward Albee; countless leading actors; and directors including Peter Brook, Jerome Robbins, and Mike Nichols. Notable premiere productions include SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, FREAK, SARAFINA, the recent A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, and over twenty plays by Mr. Mamet including AMERICAN BUFFALO and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. In 2004, he established Columbia University's Arts Initiative, a program to foster arts engagement across the university, and led it through 2010. Mr. Mosher is a Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University's School of the Arts, where one of his classes is devoted to finding new producing models for the 21st century.

  • Laurence Senelick

    Laurence Senelick is the Director of Graduate Studies, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being, Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; and The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre. Others books include: The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, as well as over a hundred articles in learned journals. He is a former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Senelick was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Prof. Senelick has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research for The Chekhov Theatre; the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association for The Age and Stage of George L. Fox and The Changing Room; and the George Jean Nathan Award for best dramatic criticism of 2000. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. He was also awarded a stipend from the TranScript/Mikhail Prokhorov Fund for Translation from the Russian. In 2008 he won the Graduate Teaching award (doctoral level) of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and in 2012 the Betty Jean Jones Prize of American Theatre and Drama Society for Distinguished Teaching. He is a widely produced translator of plays from such authors as Chekhov and Feydeau, and director at Tufts of his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare? He has acted and directed with such organizations as the Poets' Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the revue The Proposition. He recently devised new courses on Cabaret, Theatre and Visual Studies, and Low Comedy and played Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Balch Arena Theatre. His recipes appear in the Bon Appetit cookbooks.