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Synopsis

The Dionysus Group is a story from tumultuous times in American history (1967-1970) told through the eyes of a young actor in New York’s Off-Off Broadway production of Dionysus in 69 by The Performance Group, directed by Richard Schechner. William Shephard, a founding member of the Group, played a leading role as “Pentheus.” the young King of Thebes, in the Group’s adaptation of Euripides’, The Bacchae, and he chronicles the extraordinary formation, development, and realization of the Group’s ethos in Dionysus in 69. Shephard describes the formation of a Group Mind in which the interpersonal forces within the Group became mirrored in the production; where the casting and performance of roles in Dionysus in 69 reflected conflicts within the Group, itself, and conflicts in American society at large. Themes of passion, intoxication, violence, and bloodshed in Dionysus in 69, were indicative of the times, and The Performance Group’s unique use of “audience participation” captured the attention of American and International theater audiences in startling ways.

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