From Greek to Spanish to English: New Play is True Original

Jenna Peterson ® News Director |

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Theater Department has opened its curtains again for the first show of the semester, “Atreus.” 

This production, written and directed by the Theater Department Professor Yaureybo Jordan, was inspired by his love of ancient Greek stories and the lack of common knowledge about Atreus.

The play focuses on the ancient Greek character Atreus. Atreus is not a typical protagonist and lives a tragic life, but brings light to an unlikely story.

Jordan has been writing for 10 years. He has been a teacher in Puerto Rican public schools. “Atreus” is the first play he translated from Spanish. 

“When I was writing this play I wanted to try something different, so I decided to try tragedy and translate this from Spanish to English,” he said.

While Jordan has been used to working with grade school kids, he says he was able to transition to a university level with ease. The help of his students also held a great influence over the creation of this production.

“I would play with the ideas students would give me and together we figured out what aspects would help tell the story of Atreus,” Jordan explained. “Even the performance we ended up with is different from when I first imagined it.”

MNSU junior Emma Anderson, who plays Syneida in the production, said she appreciates the opportunity to influence the show based on her own previous acting experiences. 

“It was definitely a unique experience for us all to bounce off ideas for the show and characters,” she said. “In the past, I would get influence from other actors who played the same role for the show, but because this is one no one has done before, it was a good challenge for us to bring our characters to life.”

Working during COVID-19 hasn’t been easy for the Theater Department. Jordan said some actors would come in to practice in person while others were online on Zoom. This made it difficult to visualize the stage and blocking without everyone there in person. 

“These rehearsals obviously weren’t the most ideal,” Anderson said, “but there was a magical moment where everything finally clicked together despite the conditions.”

The strange rehearsal setup had an impact on how much time they could devote to different aspects of the show.

“I wasn’t able to give much time to the understudies since I had to really focus on the main cast. We also had to think ahead about what we were going to work on in each rehearsal in case someone got sick,” Jordan commented.

Atreus will be showing in the Andreas Theatre from Jan. 20- 24 with tickets available on the Department’s website.

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