In brainstorming with my students about how to stage their interpretation, I had to talk about St. Olaf Professor Anne Groton and her amazing traveling troupe of Roman comedic actors. As a Classics professor at a small liberal arts college in Minnesota for the past 14 years, and having attended more than just a few performances brought to our campus, I can attest to the creative energy and to the great good humor that Prof. Groton brings to the stages of colleges and schools throughout Minnesota when she takes her students on tour.
To recap, there is always an animal theme – bats, fittingly, for Mostellaria, I recall, as well as pigs on one occasion, and sheep on yet another occasion. The sets are fairly simple backdrops, and the songs with their catchy lyrics, sung by actors and audience alike as Prof. Groton accompanies on the piano, makes everyone burst their sides with laughter.
I was telling my students about these performances, when one chimed in. It turned out that her father was a St. Olaf alumnus, and he had performed in the Curculio in the 90’s. And, at our next meeting, she shared with us video of her father singing in this production.
While our production isn’t a musical, there is nonetheless a deep appreciation of the great work done by Prof. Anne Groton, which has now touched several generations of students at our Minnesota liberal arts colleges.