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The Cure at Troy

Honors Directing Thesis

The Swarthmore College Department of Theater presents:

The Cure at Troy by Seamus Heaney
Fri, April 30 at 8 pm
Sat, May 1 at 8 pm
Sun, May 2 at 3 pm
Frear Ensemble Theater
Lang Performing Arts Center
Free and Open to the Public

Seamus Heaney's The Cure at Troy is a play about betrayal, abandonment, hope and ultimately forgiveness. Just as Philoctetes is about to sail with Odysseus to fight at Troy, a snake bites him and he becomes terribly ill. The crew is so disgusted by his illness that they abandon him on a deserted island rather than tend his wounds. After 10 years at war, the gods make it known that the Greeks cannot win without bringing Philoctetes to the front lines. However, Philoctetes has no intention of helping the Greeks again - the only thing he wants is to exact revenge on Odysseus.

The Cure at Troy is Seamus Heaney's adaptation of Sophocles' Philoctetes. The play was originally written in the 5th century BCE and performed at the festival of Dionysus in 409 BCE. The Cure at Troy was first produced in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1990, by the Field Day Theater Company. Heaney's adaptation features some of his own poetry along with his translation. During the final moments of the 1998 Northern Ireland peace process it was often quoted by a number of political figures including Gerry Adams and Bill Clinton.

Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet, playwright, lecturer and translator. He was born in County Derry, Northern Ireland in 1939. He has written numerous volumes of poetry including North, Station Island, Death of a Naturalist, Seeing Things, The Spirit Level and District and Circle. In addition, he has written two plays, The Cure at Troy and The Burial at Thebes, and translated such works as Sweeny's Flight, Laments, and Beowulf. In 1980 he cofounded the Field Day Theater Company, the company which first produced The Cure at Troy in 1990. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 for what the committee called "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past". He was made a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture in 1996. He currently resides in Dublin.

This production is the Honors Directing Thesis of Niccolo Aeed Moretti '10. The design team includes: David Reynolds (set), Griffin Dowdy '13 (costumes), Jacob Gilbert HC '12 (lighting) and Daniel Perelstein '09 (sound). The cast features Michael Edmiston ‘12, Nia Gipson ‘10, Ben Hattem ‘12, Paul LaFreniere '13, Genevieve McGahey '12 and Sophia Naylor ‘13.

The performances are free and open to the public without advance reservations. For more info contact Liza Henty-Clark at or call (610) 328-8260.

Michael Edmiston '12 (Philoctetes). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Paul LaFreniere '13 (Odysseus), Ben Hattem '12 (Neoptolemus). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Nia Gipson '10 (Chorus). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Genevieve McGahey '12 (Chorus) , Sophia Naylor '13 (Chorus), Paul LaFreniere '13 (Odysseus), Michael Edmiston '12 (Philoctetes). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Sophia Naylor '13 (Chorus), Genevieve McGahey '12 (Chorus), Michael Edmiston '12 (Philoctetes), Ben Hattem '12 (Neoptolemus), Nia Gipson '10 (Chorus). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Michael Edmiston '12 (Philoctetes). Photo by Steve Weinik.

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