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The Lightning Child @ Shakespeare's Globe

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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I love Greek mythology; there are so many fascinating, magical, and humorous tales. Most of these myths and legends stem from poetry and plays, and in the fifth century BCE, the Greek playwright Euripides added to the Dionysian mythology with his tragedy The Bacche. The play introduces us to Dinoysus, son of Zeus, but born of a mortal woman called Semele.

Hera was jealous of this union, so tricked her husband, Zeus, into killing Semele in the form of a lightning bolt. Semele's family are angered by this, and the grandson of the family, King Pentheus, puts a ban on Dionysian worship. Dionysus wants revenge, and since this is a Greek tragedy, you can probably guess that the play comes to a bloody ending.

There have been many modern adaptations to this play, from John Orton's The Erpingham Camp television series in 1966 to a one-man musical, The God That Comes (2013). But now comes the most modern reinterpretation yet. The Lighting Child by Che Walker and Arthur Darvill opens at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on the 14th September and runs until 12th October.

This will be the Globe's first musical, and it covers the themes of gender, repression, and addiction with songs, merrymaking, and all the bombast of an orgy. Seated tickets are between between 15-39, buy there are also seven hundred standing tickets available for 5.

To accompany the musical there will be a post-show Q&A with the cast and creatives on the 28th September, as well as an in depth discussion on the 17th September for 10.

If you want a play full of sex, drugs, drink, and psychedelia, you couldn't pick a better 'hero' than Dionysus. The god of wine, madness, and ecstasy, he is as fit for today's world as he was the ancient Greeks.
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Why? Sex, drugs, drink, and psychedelia
When: 14 September until 12 October
Where: Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside
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