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Using classic dramatic conventions, Woody Allen adapts Greek Drama to Modern Manhattan Comedy and discovers Aphrodite in New York. We meet the ancients in modern context: Cassandra the prophetess, Tiresius the blind seer, the Chorus with its constant commentary (like colleagues on a newsgroup or a listserv).

Today's Trojan hero, Lenny Weinrib, rides subways and elevators instead of a wooden horse to reach his Helen of Troy. But wait a minute! Is she a mother? Or a whore? And what can Lenny Weinrib do about any of it? We can count on the wise-guy Greek chorus to comment on the intrigue.

Blind Beggar:Does the Trojan horse have a wooden dick?ÖItís something you donít want to know, but youíd have to be blind not to see it.
SoundHear the Blind Beggar (101kb wav)

With the Chorus, Woody Allen uses the "4th Wall" technique, which enables characters such as the Chorus to take a break from the direct action and talk directly to the audience. The problem with being in a Woody Allen movie is that characters like Lenny Weinrib have a way of talking back....

Chorus Leader: But to understand the ways of the heart is to grasp as clearly the malice or ineptitude of the gods. Who in their vain and clumsy labors to create a flawless surrogate have left mankind but dazed and incomplete.
Chorus: Take for instance the case of Lenny Weinrib, a tale as Greek and timeless as fate itself.
SoundHear the Chorus Leader (157kb wav)

Lenny:You know, thatís why you will always be a Chorus member because you donít do anything. I act. I take action. I make things happen.
Chorus Leader:Hurry the hell up, I hear footsteps.
SoundHear Lenny and the Chorus Leader (78kb wav)

How handy for Lenny, as the plot unravels, to have access to his own personal Cassandra, a mythological character who can see into the seeds of time and see which will grow, and which will not.

Cassandra:You never should have looked for her. Now I see big trouble.
Lenny:Youíre such a Cassandra.
Cassandra:I am not "such" a Cassandra. I "am" Cassandra.
SoundHear Lenny and Cassandra (83kb wav)

Lenny can't always safely rely on his Chorus, or the Greek seers' gift of foretelling the future. Real-time living comes with mortal vulnerabilities which our hero Lenny must navigate through using his own wit.

Pimp:That girlís going no place. She walks on me Iíll disfigure her and Iíll fucking kill you.
Lenny:Thatís exactly what Dr. Kleinholtz would call acting out.

Greek Chorus:Remember brave Achilles.
Lenny:Achilles only had an Achillesí heel. I have a full Achilles body.
SoundHear the Pimp, Lenny and the Chorus Leader (356kb wav)

The footsteps echo through time back to the cyberclassics of Greek Drama, which you can visit on the web today:


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