Dionysus in 69 (1970)
  • Title: Dionysus in 69
  • Alternate Title: D69
  • Holdings: video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 01:25:17
  • Language: English
  • Date: 22 Mar 1970
  • Location: The Performing Garage, New York City, 1967-1968.
  • Type-Format: play, performance, film, performance art
  • Cast: William Finley (Dionysus), William Shephard (Pentheus), Joan MacIntosh (Agave), Ciel (Priscilla) Smith (Agave), Patrick McDermott (Tiresias), Richard Dia (Cadmus), Remi Barclay (Chorus), Jason Bosseau (Chorus), Samuel Blazer (Chorus), Margaret Ryan (Chorus).
  • Credits: Richard Schechner, director for the stage, producer ; The Performance Group, producer ; a film by Brian De Palma, Robert Fiore, Bruce Rubin ; based on 'The Bacchae' by Euripides ; William Arrowsmith, translator of Euripides' text ; Michael Kirby, Jerry Rojo, environment ; Richard Schechner & The Performance Group, adaptation, lights, costumes.

Dionysus in 69 (1970)

Dionysus in 69 opened in The Performing Garage on June 6, 1968. D69 is the first performance of The Performance Group that emerged in 1968 from a workshop led by Richard Schechner in November 1967 shortly after he arrived from Tulane University to teach at NYU. D69, which opened on June was the first environmental theater production shown at the Performing Garage, the long-time home of TPG and later, the Wooster Group that emerged in 1980 from TPG. D69 is a free-wheeling adaptation and radical interpretation of Euripides' The Bacchae. D69 is notable for several firsts for the New York theater including: audience participation, full environmental theatre design and staging, deconstruction of a classical text, man-to-man kissing, and full-frontal nakedness of both women and men. For the production, The Performing Garage interior was filled with platforms and towers, the floor covered with carpets, the cinderblock walls painted white. Because there were no seats performers and spectators shared the space, sitting on the floor or perched on the platforms and towers. D69 was devised by Schechner and the emerging Performance Group during a long period of workshops and rehearsals. The production -- like all of Schechner's work -- was never finished. It was, and is, Schechner's practice to keep changing a production over time insofar as circumstances allow. Before each performance, Schechner met with the company to give them extensive notes and make changes. Over the 14-month run of D69 the roles were rotated among the cast, including a woman playing the god Dionysus (Joan MacIntosh). The Performance Group used their performances as a means of confronting the psychic, physical, social, and political work of the performer and the spectator. The film was made by De Palma and his colleagues Robert Fiore and Bruce Rubin from footage shot during the final two performances of D69 in July, 1968. The film uses two screen images shown simultaneously to give some feel of the totally inclusive environmental theater technique pioneered by Schechner.