Link to the feature in the San Antonio Current, received directly:
The Wicked Stage on Tragedy, A Tragedy
I’ve been thinking a lot about tragedy lately; partly, that’s because we—all of us—have just experienced the anniversary of 9/11, and it’s hard to separate that date, and those events, from the notion of tragedy, writ large. Partly, it’s because I’m considering the creation of an entire course on tragedy at Trinity: I already teach a combined Greek and Roman Drama course—in which tragedy naturally looms large—but to go from fart jokes in Aristophanes to infanticide in Seneca has always produced a bit of whiplash. (My students, to their credit, bravely soldier on.)
But, mostly, I’ve been pondering tragedy since I’m indirectly responsible for the show that’s going up at Trinity this weekend: Will Eno’s laconically-entitled Tragedy: A Tragedy. I first read the play a few years ago while burrowing my way through a number of modern tragedies, including Edward Albee’s wickedly subversive The Goat, which the author significantly subtitled “Notes towards a definition of tragedy.” (Trag-odos literally means ‘goat song’ in Greek, in commemoration of a sacrificed kid; and, to be frank, things look very bad for the goat in The Goat.) I didn’t actually see an animal slaughtered on stage (only mimetically, thanks) until Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s wonderful Hunter Gatherers (at the Hyde Park Theater in Austin): when dinner is preceded by the ritual dismemberment of a lamb, more than just comedy is on the table.
But Eno’s Tragedy: A Tragedy is another animal (so to speak) altogether. It’s less an investigation into ancient notions of communal taboo than a meditation on contemporary media: how we live, die, and grieve together as a news cycle.