Home in Toronto via Tehran, Xina Gilani (She/They) is an award-winning actor, play and screen writer with a passion for classical text. They are a alumni of Canadian Film Center and Soulpepper Academy. Their work include Wedding at Aulis: an adaptation of Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides, How to Store Pomegranates, In Case of Nothing, and The Twentieth of November (actor).
The project is a trans adaptation of the Bacchae by Euripides based on a literal translation of the play by Roger Beck as part of his book - Euripides Out Loud.
The ambition is to rework the masterpiece through a Trans-queer-migrant lens and rework the play for the modern audiences.
The original play depicts the return of Dionysus the Greek god of theatre, and vine (among other things) to his native Thebes, bringing with him his following horde of Asian Women. Thebes under the rule of Pentheus (Dionysus's cousin) has rejected to acknowledge Dionysus as a god and suffering the subsequence of the god's vengeance the women of Thebes have been "stung" mad out of their homes and then communed in nature joining the Asian women in hunting, dancing, and singing their devotion to the god.
Through the course of the play Pentheus is humiliated by the god by wearing women's clothing to spy on the sacred rituals of Dionysus's followers and is killed at the end by his own mother, while the city of Thebes burns and is destroyed by an earthquake.
The core themes of the play consist of madness, and control among other themes which offer an interesting engagement with posthuman and neo-materialist philosophies that shed light on the non-human and paranormal happenings in the play.
The adaption is mainly focused on transforming a play from a tragedy into a comedy by utilising Persian storytelling motifs as a framing device, modernising the chorus in terms language and retheme. and interrogating Pentheus as a trans figure - with Pentheus's death signifying her transition into a women, Ariadne, who marries his cousin Dionysus at the end.
The adaptation also burrows from the playwright's own life in an autoethnographic manner through the mask of the character of Mr. Cow who recounts their transformation from a man to a crow and finally a milking cow. The work is made possible through the generosity of Roger Beck who has gifted his literal translation to be used for this adaptation.