VIU theatre professor Eliza Gardiner is giving a presentation as part of the Arts and Humanities Colloquium series. (Photo courtesy VIU)

VIU theatre professor Eliza Gardiner is giving a presentation as part of the Arts and Humanities Colloquium series. (Photo courtesy VIU)

VIU theatre prof defends tragic Greek drama queen in colloquium presentation

Eliza Gardiner to discuss Greek queen Clytemnestra with help of student actor

A VIU theatre professor is defending the reputation of a drama queen from a fifth-century Greek tragedy.

On Oct. 22, Eliza Gardiner presents Great Queens: Scenes at Malaspina Theatre as part of the Arts and Humanities Colloquium series.

Gardiner will be discussing Clytemnestra, the queen whose husband Agamemnon commanded the Greek forces in the Trojan War. In the play Agamemnon, Clytemnestra exacts her revenge on her husband when her returns from battle 10 years later.

“My thesis is that she’s very powerful and that she’s definitive of what a great queen is,” Gardiner said.

Gardiner will be challenging scholarship that suggests that because Clytemnestra has her inevitable fall, “because it’s a Greek tragedy,” that she is in fact intended by the author “not to prove the power of women, but to prove that they can only make it so far.”

Gardiner will be assisted by a student actor who will prove her points by performing scenes from Agamemnon.

“I’m going to contrast that old scholarly theory with my own definition and ask the audience, ‘Do you think she’s strong and powerful and cool and an autonomous female, or do you think that because she fails she proves the fact that women can’t make it,’” she said.

WHAT’S ON … Eliza Gardiner presents Great Queens: Scenes at Malaspina Theatre, VIU Bldg. 310, on Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.

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