Today there was an IDA Panel with JoAnne, playwright Octavio Solis and playwright/director Mary Zimmerman on adaptation.
"You can't just jump into rehearsal with these Greek plays. You get screwed up. You get screwed up anyway"
"[It's a] delicious opportunity... to prepare to rehearse"
- JoAnne, on the workshop process
On why they adapt and direct classic pieces:
"Older texts are originally oral... so you have permission to adapt. The plays deal with fundamental problems of life: family, love, politics..."
"With the Greeks, things are bigger, they're more important. [They're] in our DNA that trickles down to us."
"I look for stories that shock us, disturb us."
"Myth is like an encyclopedia of the world."... "Collective smarts that isn't a part of logic [sic]"
"[The classics] give us meaning where we're always trying to find meaning"
- Octavio Solis
"Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths" - used in Metamorphoses, attribution unclear
A fun story: JoAnne was arrested with Robert Woodruff and actor Joseph Haj when visiting the the Occupied Territories in order to write an article on Palestinian theater. Their passports were taken away and they were taken to Egypt and nearly put in prison.
An interesting reference: There was an article written comparing reviews of JoAnne's production of Cymbeline at the Public, focusing on how critics treat female directors differently. It turns out the article was written by Jim Leverett (I looked it up and it's called "Cymbeline and Its Critics: A Case Study", although I couldn't find an internet version to link to. It was published in American Theater in December 1989).