The Seven is a “highly modernized, hip-hop version” of Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes; the new work is the product of mastermind Will Power. Power is a Meadows Artist-in-Residence and a 2011 Meadows Prize winner who has been called “the best verse playwright in America” by New York Magazine.
The Seven features a combination of hip-hop, funk, gospel, blues and other influences, placing an emphasis on music and urban American experience. The work explores the ancient story of King Odeipus’ sons battling for control of the city of Thebes and is ultimately a comedy and tragedy.
Audience members can expect modern updates to the story including, “a DJ, standing at an ornate golden pedestal high above the stage, that spins records that represent Aeschylus’s voice and the voice of the chorus.” The Seven had a successful Off-Broadway run in New York and California before its debut at Meadows.
Tre Garrett, artistic director for Ft. Worth’s Jubilee Theatre, is directing the Meadows production. He commented on his directing experience, “Working with the SMU students has been an absolute treat, and the energy they bring to the stage is exciting.”
The Seven is a collaborative effort between Meadows and the SMU community. Meadows alumnus Jeffery Colangelo (B.FA. Theatre, ’13) choreographed a martial arts fight scene, grad student Amanda Capshaw (M.F.A. Theatre, ’15) designed the costumes, and undergraduate Steven Smith (B.F.A. Theatre, ’14) designed the stage setting.
This production is not the first time Power has worked on one of his own creations with Meadows. In 2011 he created and premiered Alice Underground. His work is known to “bridge the gap between the spoken word of hip-hop and traditional theatre,” and he has been recognized by major publications such as The New York Times: “Will Power is treading in new territory, experimenting with tools that are new to the theatre…what’s most impressive is that you can see clearly through the door it is opening to a storehouse of new possibilities.”
The Seven will run in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center, through Saturday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students. A full cast and crew list can be found below the cut.