J. Michael Walton


Over the last forty or so years Greek tragedy has at last begun to be properly recognized as a performance art, a synthesis of music and language, cheironomia (body language) and dance, the visual as much as the aural. Audience expectation and the Greek playwrights’ growing awareness of a language of theatre beyond words have taken their place as worthy of study alongside civic and religious ritual and the poetic notions of a text-based script. The genesis of such appreciation may well have been grounded in the criticism and practice of Edward Gordon Craig. It is Craig, more than Gilbert Murray, or any other scholar of classics, who can be credited with opening up the Greek repertoire to the same directorial interrogation that has been accorded to Shakespeare and other “classic” dramatists.

As early as 1900, Craig, still under the age of thirty, had demonstrated an interest in recreating the world of classical myth, initially Roman rather than Greek, through the series of operas which he presented with Martin Shaw and the recently formed Purcell Society. Their first production was Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, with a dire libretto by Nahum Tate, which Craig both designed and directed.1 The production ran for three nights only at the Hampstead Conservatoire, now the Embassy Theatre in Bloomsbury, on May 17, 18 and 19, 1900. It was revived the following March 25-30 at the Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill Gate, in a double bill with The Masque of Love, based on Purcell’s incidental music for an adaptation of Beaumont and Fletcher’s Prophetess or The History of Dioclesian.

Though the costumes had more than a hint of the world of Virgil and Ovid, Craig was already forging a new approach to ideas of space and image. In a program note for Dido in 1900 he revealed the mischievousness which was so regularly to frustrate both his disciples and his detractors, but may have been one of his greatest strengths: “I have taken particular care”, he wrote, “to be entirely incorrect in all matters of detail.” Press notices were on the whole favorable.

Craig and Shaw made ambitious plans for March, 1902, involving a new production, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, with the libretto by John Gay based on a story in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, coupled with a revival of the Masque of Love from 1901. The production was to run for a month from March 10, 1902, at the Great Queen Street Theatre, but lasted for only six performances.2 Whatever the popularity, or lack of it, with the opera-going public, Craig was already advocating a theatre which would return to the past, not in order slavishly to recreate it, but rather as a source of inspiration for the theatre of the future. His aim was to conjure up environments in which the basic essence of plays would have a higher priority than their archaeological authenticity. This, it should be remembered, was when revivals of Greek tragedy on stage were becoming more common, though usually in Greek rather than in translation, and in productions which attempted to recreate the original staging.3

Operas on classical themes had been commonplace from the “invention” of the genre by the Florentine Camerata at the end of the sixteenth century as an attempt to recreate the drama of the Greeks. Greek and Roman mythology had maintained its place as part of the cultural subconscious of Western Europe, not least through the use of the Latin language in the catholic faith. The actual plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were a different matter. Seneca was far better known than any of them. More often read during the Renaissance than were the Greeks, it was Seneca who proved a potent influence on “Jacobethan” tragedy. A small selection of texts in Greek kept their place on the library shelves of the monasteries, but seldom if ever on stage.

It took a long time for things to change. Occasional plays from the Greek tragic canon had been translated into English from as early as the 1550s when the youthful Lady Jane Lumley published a streamlined (almost chorus-less) version of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis (sic). Sophocles was subsequently to be selectively translated in the early part of the eighteenth century by Lewis Theobald and George Adams, but Aeschylus, not at all, until a Prometheus in Chains from Thomas Morell and the seven extant works from Robert Potter in the 1770s.4 The nineteenth century saw more of the surviving tragedies appear in English, especially those of Euripides. What was less apparent from such translations was that these works were stage pieces rather than literary poems.

From the Restoration onwards the repertoire of the patent houses in England contained numbers of plays set in a notional ancient Greece, as had public theatres in the Elizabethan period, even if Seneca was still much more often invoked than Sophocles or Euripides. The Greek world did provide a rich seam for writers of operatic libretti and, in the nineteenth century, for burlesque.5 In London two comic versions of the Medea story opened on the same day in July, 1856. But Euripides’ Medea was not first performed in English until 1907, under the Vedrenne/Barker management at the Savoy Theatre on the Strand in Gilbert Murray’s translation: and the Birmingham Repertory Company’s production of Iphigeneia in Aulis in 1953 was billed as the first professional production of the play in England. The revival of Greek tragedy on stage had begun much earlier, it is true. There was a celebrated Antigone in English at Covent Garden in 1845 “for the first time in England”, and academic productions in Greek of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon at Oxford in 1880; Euripides’ Alcestis in 1881 at Bradfield College, where Craig was briefly a pupil from 1886; and Sophocles’ Ajax at Cambridge in 1882. Others followed.

Craig’s impressions of Greek theatre in performance were coloured in part by these academic productions. It would seem he was not impressed. In the first volume of The Mask he wrote in Notes from Cambridge:

The Art of the Drama does not flourish in general at Cambridge. There are always touring companies at the New Theatre... of the usual quality! Within the university are some dramatic societies, which fulfill their purpose of amusing. But the stupid university regulation that no society may produce a play in which women act, whilst no doubt it preserves the morality of Cambridge, is a sad obstacle to serious dramatic effort... Then there are the triennial and much-praised Greek plays; of great interest to scholars and often, to musicians. They are staged with some expense and great archaeological accuracy, and stage-managed and directed by a great many dons. There is a lot of light and colour, quite uncontrolled and garish, and the whole effect is rather dreary; though it cannot always conceal the supreme qualities of the actual play.6

John Todhunter’s Helena in Troas at Hengler’s Circusin 1886 should have filled a gap here. Produced by the Wilson Barrett Company, it was claimed as a more classically-inspired text than it deserved, but was designed by none other than the father Craig never knew, Edward William Godwin. It was to be Godwin’s last artistic enterprise. He died the same year. Though Helena in Troas may have been an improvement on the poorly received Cambridge Ajax, it appears now as a living embodiment of those antiquarian virtues to which Craig tried so hard to give credence twenty-five years later in a bizarre series of articles in The Mask apparently championing antiquarianism, about which I have written elsewhere.7

The production of the Todhunter, by repute, was less Greek than Greekish, the language of the play close to Swinburne and a long way from Euripides. It did appeal to the fashionable of the day, being admired by a celebrated audience that included, improbably, both Oscar Wilde and the Prince of Wales. The critic J.A. Symonds approved, because, as he wrote in accordance with the perceptions of the time, “Music, dancing, acting and scenery, with the Greeks, were sculptured, studied, stately.”8 W.B. Yeats, who had a far deeper comprehension than most of the potential of Craig’s stage devices, was impressed both by the chorus and the attempts to recreate the stage space of the Greeks by using the Circus arena.9

Craig saw the production, aged 14. He recorded his reactions retrospectively in Index to the Story of My Days:

It was no success but a lasting victory for years after... The producer of the Helena of Troas was like a one-legged soldier fighting against “a sea of troubles” and overwhelmed by one thing only––by “outrageous fortune.” 10

Craig did commend Beerbohm Tree, who played Paris, for “keeping the audiences from loud laughter”, but was vitriolic about the author. Conclusion: “If only he [Tree as Paris] had locked up the play in a cupboard and taken out Dido and Aeneas and its music... ”11

Ah, the benefit of hindsight! As he well knew, writing this over 70 years later, he was to do just this himself only 14 years later. Craig did acknowledge E.W. Godwin a couple of times in his assessment of the Todhunter, but failed to comment on the decor.

The year after Craig’s first production of Dido, the cause of Greek drama on stage was taken up by the classical scholar Gilbert Murray, six years Craig’s senior but still something of a youthful reformist.12 A successful amateur production of Murray’s Andromache in 1901, not the Euripides, but an original play with the same title, encouraged the new management at the Royal Court, John Eugene Vedrenne and Harley Granville Barker, to undertake productions of Euripides’ Hippolytus, Trojan Women, Electra and Medea between 1903 and 1907, all in Murray translations. A Bacchae was to follow, directed by William Poel, when they moved to the Savoy Theatre.

The productions at the Court appear from contemporary reviews to have been an interesting novelty, but earthbound. The stage of the Court Theatre was so small that there was no way of preventing the chorus from getting in the way of the actors. Little trace here of the “wild festival” which Craig saw at the heart of the experience of Greek tragedy when he was to write, a touch romantically, in the Preface of Towards a New Theatre:

When Drama went indoors it died; and when Drama went indoors, its scenery went indoors too. You must have the sun on you to live, and Drama and Architecture must have the sun on them to live... Drama was able to be out of doors and in the sun because, instead of being a nightly amusement, it was a rare festival. People have always spoken about it as being a religious festival, but perhaps it is a mistake nowadays to underline this, because the word “religious” to us means one thing and in the old days it meant another thing. How best to describe what it was in the old days? Probably if you were to stand in St Mark’s Square––or even in Trafalgar Square for the matter of that––
on a sunny day, and see a couple of hundred pigeons wheel around the square, flapping their wings, enjoying themselves in their own godlike way, you would get the nearest idea to what a Greek festival was like.13

For a man who in the middle of these Court and Savoy seasons was to complain so vehemently of the prevailing tendency to treat Greek tragedy as belonging on the page rather than the stage, Craig was surprisingly tolerant of Murray as a translator. He was to review a variety of translations of Aeschylus in The Mask in 1929 (Vol. 15, 162-4) and to come down on the side of Murray. He admitted that Murray’s translation was “treasonable” in the sense that a Ming author called all translation “treasonable,” being no better than “the reverse side of a brocade––all the threads are there but not the subtlety of colour or design.” In defense, Craig said of Murray as a translator of Euripides that he “performs his task so deftly, so gracefully, that we cannot see how it is done and do not suspect any legerdemain.”14 But then, despite his sojourn at Bradfield, Craig did not have the benefit of knowing the plays in the original Greek.

Isadora Duncan was less convinced about Murray. She wrote to Craig in 1907, “I am reading the Trojan Women of Euripides... do you know if any better translation exists? This one is a rhymed jingle.”15 This rhyming translation, in 1907, can only have been Murray’s. Rhyme was an occasional and almost aberrational refinement in the Greeks and no other translator of the time was trying to squeeze Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides into such an intrusive linguistic straitjacket. For Craig, who had written in The Art of the Theatre in 1905 that the first dramatists “spoke either in poetry or prose, but always in action: in poetic action which is dance, or in prose action which is gesture,” enthusiasm for Murray remains as faut de mieux. Isadora was a far greater influence on Craig’s notions of classical drama than ever Murray was, personally, and as an artist. Their affair was passionate and long-lasting enough to produce a volume of letters and a daughter, Deirdre, one of the two Duncan children drowned in the Seine in April, 1913. Duncan was herself to die in a quite different, but equally freak, automobile accident in 1928.

In Peter Kurth’s biography of Isadora published in 2001, he refers to her and Craig’s shared interest in the Greek ideal and what Ann Daly called “art as revelation”. 16 Craig and Duncan (or Teddy and Topsy as they gushingly called one another), were together for about two years from 1904-06 and remained admirers of one another’s talents, if no more, for years to come. Isadora’s transformation of the possibilities of expression through dance led Craig towards a new understanding of what the power of a Greek chorus might be to evoke emotion and mood. In 1905 he wrote in The Art of the Theatre:

The father of the dramatist was the dancer... the dramatist made his first piece by using action, words, line, colour, and rhythm, and making his appeal to our eyes and ears by a dexterous use of these five factors... The first dramatists were children of the theatre. The modern dramatists are not. The first dramatists understood what the modern dramatist does not yet understand. He knew that when he and his fellows appeared in front of them the audience would be more eager to see what he would do than to hear what he might say... he [the dramatist] spoke either in poetry or prose, but always in action: in poetic action which is dance, or in prose action which is gesture.17

Craig also created in 1906 a series of six designs showing “movements” from Duncan’s dances, one of which became revamped for Eleanora Duse as Clytemnestra.Arnold Rood suggested that he was influenced by Duncan’s enthusiasm to return to “The Great Source, Nature”, which led him to the Greek theatre:

Craig, too, sought a return to nature through the spirit of ancient Greece because its art was so natural: the stage building was a real building, the spectators readily identified with the chorus because it was made up of real individuals moving, dancing, in a natural fashion. In addition there was the natural movement of light across the stage.18

If Isadora offered an approach to the Greeks that was more in keeping with experience he was grappling to understand, the only real alternative in the 1900s to the Murray/Barker approach seemed to be that of Max Reinhardt.

In 1903 Reinhardt had directed the Von Hofmannsthal “version” of Elektra (sic), where, perhaps for the first time in a full production, the emphasis was less on the text than on the body. This ought to have appealed to Craig, but failed to do so. He met Reinhardt the same year and seemed to get on well with him. They suggested working together on The Tempest, Macbeth and, rather improbably, Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra. But collaboration for Reinhardt meant asking Craig to do sets and costumes. Collaboration for Craig meant Craig having control of everything. There may have been a deeper distrust.

In what is described as simply “A Note” in The Mask for April 1908, George Norman wrote:

The tragedy of Electra was first produced in Berlin by Director Reinhardt, in, we believe, the year 1903. It was one of a series of remarkable plays from the pen of Dr Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the youngest and most gifted of the German poets, whose work deserves a more ideal treatment on the stage than it ever receives. Hofmannsthal is no realist in the theatrical sense of the word. Realism in the Theatre of the North means Gloominess, a darkened stage and commonplace (not even good honest) drawing room and stable gestures. “Electra” at the Kleines Theater in Berlin was a depressing not an inspiring sight... A gong precedes the drawing back of gloomy curtains whatever the scene, a gloomy scene... Hofmannsthal’s play needed a finer and grander treatment. Instead of a despairing gong we needed the piercing blare of silver trumpets. Instead of a cramped brown-black scene of imitation stonework set upon a raised platform close to our seats, we needed an imaginative scene full of a sense of colour, placed upon a stage which should allow proportion to its liberty.19

George Norman continued by lamenting the delay to the Duse production of Electra, without saying that Duse’s designer was meant to be Edward Gordon Craig. But then he doesn’t admit either that George Norman was yet another Craig alias, one of the sixty-six plus he used while writing in The Mask.

Craig published one of his designs for Sophocles’ Electra in Towards a New Theatre in 1913. It is notable for the screen background which dwarfs the human figures and which had proved so unwieldy in the Moscow Hamlet of the previous year.20 He appended the note:

I have never seen Electra acted, although I have seen the play done in a theatre. I saw it in Germany. My impression was that Electra was a little lady taking a little revenge with a lot of gusto. 21

Another Electra figure, part of Craig’s Duse set, used both silhouette and shadow. On a tissue inset, only found in this edition, Craig provided a typical commentary:

A vast and forbidding doorway, I often think, still remains the best background for any tragedy––yet when I am told by the archaeologist, who enjoys himself in the dry and dusty days which are gone, that vastness and nobility of line are unimportant, and that a nice little wooden stage and some tasteful hangings about eight to ten feet high will serve, I am so ready to agree that I sometimes wonder whether these vast doors and open spaces, these shadows and these bursts of light are not out of place.
Of course it all depends whether you come to the theatre for drama or literature.
If you come for drama, then let the whole thing live––not alone to the brain but through the eye and the ear.
If you come for a literary treat––best catch the first train home and own up to having made a blunder.22

Some of the rest of the Duse set are an interesting reflection on what Craig did approve of. Electra is shown not simply as a solitary figure, but as a solitary figure in a public forum, the position in which she finds herself in the Sophocles play. 23

Here, then, we have some indication of where Craig’s own thinking tended, based on the same play, but very differently from the Reinhardt production he had seen. Already his sense of a hostile environment overwhelming the human figure, first noticeable in his designs for Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea, provides the most lasting impression. It was to remain so in most of his subsequent work, but it is worth recording that most of his stage visions for Shakespeare plays, from Towards a New Theatre (1913) to Scene (1923), could serve just as easily for much of the Greek repertoire with which he was less familiar.

So much for Reinhardt, you might think. But, according to Teddy Craig, Craig’s film designer son, Reinhardt did actually invite Craig “to produce” the Oresteia, but by this time Craig was committed to working with Stanislavski in Moscow.24 Reinhardt was to go on to direct the massive Oedipus which opened in 1910 at the Circus Schumann, for which Gilbert Murray in England provided the first English version to pass the censor, and to direct an Oresteia himself the following year, both while Craig and Stanislavski were wrestling with their Hamlet at the Moscow Art Theatre, four years in the making.

The reaction of Antonio Galli to these Reinhardt Greek productions, reviewing them in The Mask, was to offer faint praise:

The firm [as he called the Reinhardt company] was rather pleased with itself: the idea was born in 1910, we are told: but this is not true: the idea was born in 1900 and in England, and in 1910 this firm saw a way with good German aid to realise it.25

Antonio Galli, of course, was another Craig pseudonym.

Craig appears by this time to have been proposing himself as creating the link between drama and theatre, but his attitude had nothing to do with archaeological reconstruction, as his comment in the Dido programme about being “incorrect in matters of detail” had forewarned. He wrote in the introduction to Towards a New Theatre in 1913:

And now I do not point back to the Greeks, I do not point back to the Christian Church, nor to any noble theatre that we have possessed, nor tell you to reconstruct these. I care not a scrap about the past, but only about the future; but what the finest in the past teaches us is exactly the same as the finest in the future, and to reach this old new ideal––perhaps even to surpass it in time –– I go towards a new Theatre.26

His first ever article for The Mask in 2008, and a subject which gave him the name for his periodical, had been “A Note on Masks” (under the name of John Balance):

He [Gordon Craig] tells us that human facial expression is for the most part valueless... Masks carry conviction when he who creates them is an artist, for the artist limits the statements which he places on these masks.27

He might have added that it is not only the creator of the masks who needs to be an artist but also the wearer. Masked acting transfers the focus of attention from the face to the whole body, something of which the actors of his own time had little comprehension and which has defeated most more recent attempts to reinvigorate the style. Craig was certainly consistent in having little good to say about attempts to return Greek tragedy to the stage:

There have been the revivalists of the so-called Greek theatre …a dreadful thing entirely in Greek; and so on. It would be a sad thing, therefore, if masks, sham-Greek in idea, sham-Greek in their manufacture, should be brought into the theatre, appealing to the curious creating only by creating a subject for small talk. No! the Mask must return to the stage to restore expression ,...the visible expression of the mind.28

What Craig had understood as a visual artist, at a time when anything written about Greek tragedy was dominated by the spoken word, was that Greek theatre was rooted in the mask. The move from epic reciter of Homer to the mimetic actor of early Greek tragedy was marked by the putting on of a mask, donning a personality and turned story-telling into drama. His approach was now focused from 1907 to 1914 on the Black Figures. Some early work involving articulated wooden figures had proved fruitless, but he returned to them in a different form, making over a hundred Figures in all up to 1919, varying in size from seventeen centimeters to twenty-five and set against a background of small screens. Originally carved whitewood and puppet-like they resemble the wayang klitik, the Javanese shadow puppet, more solid than the leather kulit, or purwa, but less substantial than the three-dimensional wayang golek. They had a resemblance too to his much-misinterpreted übermarionettes, varying in meaning from the jointed figures to the ideal stage actor. Soon to be inked and pressed on paper, the Black Figures became a sort of hybrid between the two forms he had already espoused, marionette and woodcut. Many were of Shakespearean characters or personifications such as Fear or Hunger, others of character types, among them himself and Isadora. The best included characters from classical myth and drama, Helen, Hecuba and Iphigeneia, among them, all characters from Euripides, extending his vision of the Greek actor demonstrated in his Electra scenes.29

This enthusiasm for the theatre of the mask, looking forward not back, became concentrated in these solid forms, often appearing backlit, which demonstrated not only the power of the masked speaker during the long speeches to be found in all Greek tragedy, but also the stance and attitude of those on the receiving end, the listeners or witnesses, other actors or chorus. Though static, these miniature Black Figures were intended to identify the essence of the characters with whom they were identified, frozen in time. What he was less successful in distinguishing was the link through to the mobility and versatility of the actor when wearing a mask. Nonetheless, here was a vision of Greek drama which, probably for the first time since the Hellenistic period, addressed the way in which Greek tragedy was created as a masked performance with all that that implies for the chorus and for cheironomia, the language of stage gesture. Emotion was crystallized, as in Greek sculpture and in the composite vase paintings with theatrical subjects from the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.

In broader terms, Craig had discovered in the theatre of the Greeks was what the next two generations were to describe, perhaps following Wagner, as total theatre, a theatre of mask, gesture, music, dance, celebration, occasion, and a sense of the immemorial which would help free European theatre generally from the shackles of the literal: and Greek theatre from the much more pervasive stranglehold of linguistic scholarship. Implicit was a new sense of stage architecture, of atmosphere through light and sound, of a return to the theatre’s most basic weapons, space, color and emotion. Here was a forerunner of Modernism for directors like Copeau, Meyerhold and Tairov; the return to the stage of the mask in the plays of Pirandello, Yeats, Cocteau, O’Neill and Brecht; and the more recent directors who turned inventively to the Greeks, Stein, Mnouchkine, Ninagawa and Miyagi, all following Craig’s encouragement to search for the “old new ideal”.

Awkward curmudgeon though he was, Craig was not a lone voice. He may have managed to fall out with most of those who wanted to work with him, but there was no denying his influence. Terence Gray at the Cambridge festival theatre between 1926 and 1933, offered one example of Craigian influence that relates directly back to the Black Figures and their small screen backing. Gray’s productions of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Eumenides, and Prometheus Bound, Sophocles’ Antigone and Oedipus Tyrannus, and his own dance-dramas such as The Poisoned Kiss or The Tremendous Lovers, had no hope of incorporating Craig’s lofty architectural backgrounds on his tiny stage. They were clearly confined by the cramped conditions of the stage, at best “closet Craig,” to coin a phrase. What was authentic Craig in Gray had little to do with height or depth, or even the human figure in space, but rather the sense of arresting image to be found in all the Greek tragedians for those who care to look for it, a single wheel which served for a chariot in Agamemnon, or the red cloth binding the face for Oedipus’ blindness, characters defined by their stance and movement. Here, it is tempting to think, from Craig via Gray, was the sense of enhancing the image in Katie Mitchell’s Oresteia in what was then the Cottesloe auditorium (now the Dorfman), the smallest theatre space in the Royal National Theatre in London, from 1999: the use of projection for plotting Clytemnestra’s “beacon” speech and Cassandra’s writing her final words in Agamemnon; the additional ghosts, first of a gagged Iphigeneia in Agamemnon, then of Agamemnon in Libation-Bearers, desperate to interfere with the action, in preparation for Aeschylus’ ghost Clytemnestra in Eumenides; the Agamemnon chorus of wheelchair-bound veterans/reporters; the red patchwork carpet of little girl’s dresses, trampled on by Agamemnon as he headed into his palace, and which would become his shroud. This seems to me to be Craig, less the epic Craig where the actor was dwarfed by the environment than Craig the artist who could distil the essence of a moment from two and a half thousand years ago into something to touch, to excite, to shock: not looking back to a theatre of the past except to see what had really been there, and taking it forward to the theatre of the millennium.

The other directors of classical plays have mostly been able to use the kind of spaces that the monumental Craig would have relished, the Murrayfield Ice Rink for Stein’s Oresteia, the Cornmill at Bradford for Mnouchkine’s Oresteia, the Theatre of Herodes Atticus for Ninagawa’s Medea and the stadium at Delphi for the Miyagi Antigone (not their only venues but where I happened to see them). The sad thing in all this is that Craig never got to direct a Greek play nor to create anything more than some intriguing designs for them. But then Craig was, from the age of not much more than thirty, more visionary than practitioner. The ideas are as fresh as ever and remain a worthwhile trawl for anyone venturing into the complex world of Greek tragedy.

N o t e s

  1. Sample:[back]

    Sorceress: The Queen of Carthage whom we hate

    As we do all in prosp’rous state,

    Ere sunset shall most wretched prove,

    Depriv’d of fame, of life and love!

    Chorus: Ho ho ho, ho ho ho!

  2. See James Fisher, “An Idealist”: The Legacy of Edward Gordon Craig’s Formative Productions, 1900-1903, Theatre Arts Journal: Studies in Scenography and Performance 1 (Fall 2009) www.taj.tau.ac.il .[back]
  3. For a detailed history of plays on classical themes and the first staging of Greek tragedies from the sixteenth century onwards see Edith Hall and Fiona Macintosh, Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660-1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).[back]
  4. For the history of translation into English see J. Michael Walton, Found in Translation: Greek Drama in English (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).[back]
  5. For Opera on classical themes see Marianne McDonald, Sing Sorrow: Classics, History, and Heroines in Opera (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001); for burlesque versions of Greek tragedy, see Hall and Macintosh.[back]
  6. Edward Gordon Craig, (ed.)The Mask, 1, no.10 (Dec 1908): 201-202.[back]
  7. Walton, ‘E.W.G. and E.G.C.: Father and Son’, in Katharine Cockin, (ed.), Ellen Terry: Spheres of Influence (London Pickering and Chatto, 2011), 81-91.[back]
  8. John Addington Symonds, Studies of the Greek Poets, chapter 17, quoted in Richard Jenkyns, The Victorians and Ancient Greece (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980), 303.[back]
  9. Though they never got to work together, perhaps fortunately for both of them, Yeats was to become closest to realizing Craig’s ideas in his production of his own play The Hour Glass in Dublin in 1911. Not only did he use a screen setting but also masks from Craig’s designs.[back]
  10. Craig, Index to the Story of My Days (New York: Viking Press, 1957), 71.[back]
  11. Ibid.[back]
  12. Murray would be the model for Adolphus Cusins in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara (1905).[back]
  13. Craig, Towards a New Theatre (London and Toronto: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1913), 7-8.[back]
  14. The Mask, 3, nos.1-3 (July 1910): 87.[back]
  15. Quoted in Francis Steegmuller, Your Isadora: The Love Story of Isadora Duncan and Gordon Craig (London: Macmillan, 1974), 20.[back]
  16. Peter Kurth, Isadora: a sensational life (Boston: New York and London: Little Brown and Company, 2001), 134. See also between pages 210 and 211, for Isadora as Iphigenia; Christopher Innes, Edward Gordon Craig (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); ibid 115, for Isadora dancing in the orchestra of the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens.[back]
  17. Craig, “The First Dialogue” in The Art of the Theatre, reproduced in On the Art of the Theatre (London: Heinemann, 1911), 140-1.[back]
  18. Arnold Rood, Gordon Craig on Movement and Dance (London: Dance Books, 1987), xxi.[back]
  19. The Mask, 1, no.2 (April 1908): 24.[back]
  20. See Laurence Senelick, Gordon Craig’s Moscow Hamlet (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982).[back]
  21. Craig, Towards a New Theatre, page 35 and facing page 35. See The Mask, XIII, facing page 102 for a scene from the Reinhardt Elektra.[back]
  22. Craig, On The Art of the Theatre, facing page xiv. The spacing is as in the original.[back]
  23. See Denis Bablet, The Theatre of Edward Gordon Craig (London: Eyre Methuen, 1962), Figs. 10, 11, and between page 116 and 117.[back]
  24. Edward Craig, Gordon Craig: The Story of his Life (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1968), 245.[back]
  25. Antonio Galli, “Reinhardt and Co.”, The Mask, 12, no.3 (Blom reprint, New York: 1967; 13 (July-Aug 1927):104-5.)[back]
  26. Craig, Towards a New Theatre, 11.[back]
  27. John Balance, “A Note on Masks”, The Mask, 1, no. 1 (March 1908): 10.[back]
  28. Ibid 11.[back]
  29. For the most complete set of Black Figures See L. M. Newman, The Black Figures of Edward Gordon Craig, Irchester: The September Press, 1989. See also, Special Collections-URL at the University of California, Los Angeles and J. Michael Walton (ed.) Craig on Theatre, London: Methuen Drama, 1991, 1999, Ills. 10 and 12.[back]


J. Michael Walton is a theatre historian, translator and practitioner, Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Hull. His first degree was in Classics at St Andrews. Most of his books and publications are in the field of Greek theatre, but he edited Craig on Theatre for Methuen in 1983 with new editions in 1991 and 1999. He has also lectured on Craig at the American Philological Association in San Diego, The Centre for Performance Research in Aberystwyth and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.