Iphigenia at Lesvos

By: Lisa Schlesinger  

This session will present on Iphigenia at Lesvos: Story of a Refugee, a multimedia performance by a collective of international award-winning artist/scholars from Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Russia, Korea, France, U.S. It is the culminating piece in The Iphigenia Project, a multi-year multimedia collaboration, begun in 2014, in response to the refugee crisis and seen through the lens of the Iphigenia myth. Iphigenia references Euripides’ plays and draws from the traditional form of the ancient Greek women’s lament from the Trojan and Peloponnesian War epics. It follows the plight of women and children refugees, the routes they travel to escape war, and the histories/stories they carry with them. In Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis there are two possible outcomes: Iphigenia escapes her death and a sacrificial animal is put in her place or she dies. This performance conceives of the passage between Aulis and her landing at Iphigenia at Taurus, as the refugees’ path, a state of “no way forward” and “no way back,” according to the ancients, a fate worse than death. The Iphigenia Project evolves over time using interdisciplinary forms including text/film essays, presentations and theatre with the goal of keeping the refugee crisis visible. To date these works have reached the public through public television, national film and literary festivals and publications. Iphigenia at Lesvos, the culminating multimedia performance will be produced at the University of Iowa Partnership in the Arts in 2018, premiere in New York City 2019 and then tour in the U.S. and Europe.

refugee crisis, theatre
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Workshop Presentation

Lisa Schlesinger

Associate Professor, Theatre Arts , Co-head, Iowa Playwrights' Workshop , University of Iowa

Lisa Schlesinger is an award winning playwright, theatre activist and writer. Recipient of the BBC International Playwriting Competition among other awards, her stage and radio plays have been performed in the U.S. and internationally. Her plays and essays are published by American Theater magazine, Broadway Plays, TCG, various theater journals and the New York Times. She is currently co-head of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.