Professor Francisco Barrenechea

Francisco Barrenechea received a Summer Research and Scholarship Award from the Graduate School to work on his most recent project, a book on the reception of ancient Greek drama in contemporary Mexico, this summer.

With the generous funding of the RASA award, Barrenechea will continue doing archival research in the United States and Mexico, and will interview Mexican playwrights and directors who have recently staged adaptations of Greek drama.

Besides preparing the first drafts of the initial chapters of his book, he will also write an article on productions of Sophocles’ “Oedipus” in Mexico that illustrate the pull between the aesthetic approach mentioned above and a more serious engagement with the social and political problems of the country.

In general, the reception of ancient Greek drama in contemporary Mexico has followed an idiosyncratic path in contrast to that of other countries: what is striking is the pervasiveness of avant-garde and aestheticizing tendencies in the adaptations and productions of these ancient plays, coupled with a striking indifference to Mexico’s social and political situation. These tendencies, which have been extraordinarily persistent in the country’s theater scene, can be traced to the first adaptations of Greek drama in the 1920s and their reaction against the Mexican revolution and the nationalist movements in the arts of the period.