Rehm, Rush 1949-
Rehm, Rush 1949-
CAREER: Emory University, Atlanta, GA, assistant professor of drama and classics, 1985-89; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, assistant professor, 1990-95, associate professor of drama and classics, 1995-2002, professor of drama and classics, 2002—. Director of plays, including The Homecoming, Emperor Jones, and The Curse of the Starving Class; actor in plays, including Twelfth Night, Tales from the Vienna Woods, and King Lear.
MEMBER: American Philological Association, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Merit Scholar, 1968-72; Fulbright-Hays fellow, 1973-75; Felix Mayer scholar, 1978-79; Whiting fellow, 1984-85; NEH summer stipend, 1986; grant from American Council of Learned Societies, 1987-88; Lila Wallace-Readers’ Digest Arts Partners grantee, 1993.
(Adapter) Aeschylus, The Oresteian Trilogy: A Theatre Vision, Hawthorn Press (Melbourne, Australia), 1978.
Greek Tragic Theater, Routledge (New York, NY), 1994.
Marriage to Death: The Conflation of Wedding and Funeral Rituals in Greek Tragedy, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1994.
The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2002.
Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World, Duckworth (London, England), 2003.
Contributor of articles to professional journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Rush Rehm is a drama and classics professor, actor, and theater director whose books illuminate various aspects of Greek tragedy. In Marriage to Death: The Conflation of Wedding and Funeral Rituals in Greek Tragedy, Rehm examines the correlation between Athenian weddings and funerals from the fifth century B.C.E., and what their similarities symbolized. His theory is that the juxtaposition and manipulation of these events on stage was a way of challenging the prevailing morals of the day and pushing for social change. Though it is a work of academic analysis, the author “writes accessibly enough for performers of ancient tragedy on the modern stage,” noted Edith Hall in her Times Literary Supplement review. Discussing the book in the Classical Journal, Nanci DeBloois found that “Rehm’s conclusions and interpretations are persuasive, even though they are not unique.” She considered the book’s greatest value to be in the way that it discusses several plays in which this topic is prominent. Choice contributor M. Damen termed it “concise and well-written.”
Rehm’s next book, Greek Tragic Theater, is “ambitious in its aims, businesslike in construction, thought-provoking in assertions,” praised Everard Flintoff in the Classical Review, adding that it “addresses an awesomely wide range of issues.” These include details on performance techniques, such as the use of masks and choruses, and a discussion of four seminal Greek plays. Rehm explains how religious and artistic festivals were a crucial part of life in ancient Athens, and shows “very clearly how much Greek tragedy owes to the nature of the city which gave it birth,” claimed Michael Anderson in Theatre Research International.
Rehm analyzes a more specific aspect of Greek theater in his next book, The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy. In it, he reminds readers that while the Greek tragedies are often regarded in the modern age as textual matter, to be read and analyzed, they were really meant to be performed. “He has a fascinating and persuasive account of the physical geography of the theater of Dionysus in the fifth century,” reported Emily Wilson in the Times Literary Supplement. She added: “Rehm’s readings of individual scenes are frequently stimulating and original.”
Rehm followed up this book with Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World in 2003. It consists of five interconnected essays. The book covers a range of topics, including the theater of Dionysus’ physical space and religious significance, a discussion of the word ‘fear’ in tragedy, a comparison of current day world events with ancient Greek drama, and an evaluation on Greek tragedy to look beyond past hardships and disasters and into the future. Writing in the Scholia Reviews, Betine van Zyl Smit called Rehm’s descriptions and comparisons “sensitive and provocative” while overall dubbing it “a passionately argued, yet always scholarly, work.” She went on to say that “it is clear that Rush Rehm has a thorough knowledge of and deep love of Greek tragedy.” Charles E. Jenkins, writing in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, labeled the book “an intensely personal, deeply felt meditation on the power of Greek tragedy to expose and confront contemporary and modern social ills.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, March 28, 2004, Thomas E. Jenkins, review of Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World.
Choice, March, 1993, M. Damen, review of Greek Tragic Theater, p. 1158; February, 1995, M. Damen, review of Marriage to Death: The Conflation of Wedding and Fundamental Rituals in Greek Tragedy, p. 931.
Classical Journal, October-November, 1995, Nanci DeBloois, review of Marriage to Death, p. 80.
Classical Review, February, 1993, Everard Flintoff, review of Greek Tragic Theater, pp. 434-435.
Classical World, January, 1996, Richard Jones, review of Greek Tragic Theater, p. 229.
Comparative Drama, fall, 1995, David Konstan, review of Marriage to Death, p. 382.
Greece & Rome, April, 2003, Stephen Halliwell, review of The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy, p. 102.
Journal of Hellenic Studies, 2004, Barbara Goff, review of Radical Theatre, p. 223.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 1993, review of Greek Tragic Theatre, p. 30; August, 2005, review of Radical Theatre, p. 241.
Religious Studies Review, July, 1995, review of Marriage to Death, p. 228.
Scholia Reviews, 1996, Margaret R. Mezzabotta, review of Marriage to Death, p. 13; 2004, Betine van Zyl Smit, review of Radical Theatre, p. 30; 2005, Stanley Ireland, review of The Play of Space, p. 20.
Theatre Research International, spring, 1996, Michael Anderson, review of Greek Tragic Theater, p. 79.
Theatre Survey, May, 1994, Clifford Ashby, review of Greek Tragic Theater, p. 163; November, 2005, Edmund P. Cueva, review of Radical Theatre, p. 324.
Times Literary Supplement, December 25, 1992, Malcolm Heath, review of Greek Tragic Theater, p. 21; May 12, 1995, Edith Hall, review of Marriage to Death, p. 26; January 17, 2003, Emily Wilson, review of The Play of Space, p. 11.
Stanford University Department of Classics Web site, http://www.stanford.edu/dept/classics/home/ (January 3, 2007), author profile.