Plautus’s Mostellaria (The Haunted House)
This past spring (2014), the Boston University Department of Classical Studies and the Core Curriculum staged a reading of Plautus’ Mostellaria (The Haunted House). The play was produced in conjunction with my Roman Comedy course (CL 229). The talented students in this class were each assigned a section of the script and asked to transpose the original plot and characters, update arcane jokes and idioms, and recreate some of the “verbal fireworks” of Plautus’ Latin for a modern, English-speaking audience, taking into account the cultural, practical, and theoretical concepts and contexts they had been studying all semester. By workshopping the individual scenes in class and seeing them performed at the event itself, the students were able to explore and experiment with the material in a dynamic, hands-on, and collaborative way.
The cast comprised undergraduates, graduate students, and members of our distinguished faculty, clad in togas, tutus, beanies, bowties, and a variety of other colorful costumes. The event brought together members of the larger classics community for a memorable evening of music, pizza, and comedy.