Bakkhai / Diotekk - Emma Johnston recollections
"The first Free Theatre production that I was involved in – to a small degree - was an adaptation of Euripides’ Bacchae. It took place in 1999, when I was a second year student in TAFS, and the stage 2 and stage 3 students were invited to come along and help out.
We had studied The Bacchae in class that year, so I was familiar with the content of the play, but not overly excited by it. What excited and intrigued me about the Free Theatre’s adaptation was that it was to be set in The Ministry night club. I had never seen a theatrical performance in a night club. I’d hardly ever even been to a night club! And what excited me even more once I turned up to the dress rehearsals was that it wasn’t just being performed in a night club, pretending that the night club was a theatre, but it engaged with the space and the conventions of a night club, and the conventions of contemporary (1999) rave culture. So it gave The Bacchae a completely new form and a completely new life – and a life that had relevance to the contemporary audience attending. The night club concept came from the idea that, perhaps today – or, at least, in 1999 – the night-club, rave or dance party was the site for a modern-day form of Dionysiac ritual and celebration – the release from everyday life through communal dancing and rituals of alcohol and drug taking. And rather than just referring to this, it made it visceral and experiential for the audience".