CLAS 103: Greek Mythology

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

06/06/2023 - 10/06/2023

Production Details


Vincent Andrew-Scammell presents
Professor Ross Jacob Livingston presenting
CLAS 103: Greek Mythology


Sick & tired of the mundanity of his usual lectures, Professor Ross Jacob Livingston has decided that it’s time to take the Greeks back to where they were best: Theatre.

But to play with the Gods is to also play with Livingston’s past.  And he may just find out that these epic tales he lovingly tells, may be closer to home than he realises. This lecture-gone-wrong promises an evening filled with laughter, mishaps, and heartfelt revelations as we unveil a chaotic journey into Greek Mythology and the struggles of a father-son relationship.

The story kicks off with Prof. Livingston attempting to captivate his students with his unique insights into the ancient tales of gods and heroes. However, amidst his bumbling and hilarious mishaps, the audience quickly realises that this lecture is spiralling out of control. As fate would have it, our dear Professor has a penchant for disastrous public speaking. Not ideal in this line of work. As the performance unfolds, we also see how his unforgettably strained relationship with his father really doesn’t help the situation.

Audiences will find themselves both laughing and empathising with Prof. Livingston as he stumbles through the lecture, desperately trying to salvage the situation while battling his own personal demons. Through witty banter, physical comedy, and heartwarming moments, CLAS 103: Greek Mythology offers a unique blend of hilarity and introspection, exploring themes of self-discovery, forgiveness, and the universal complexities of family relationships. The underlying tension provides a poignant and touching backdrop to the show in its ensuing chaos.

he bonus? You’ll actually learn something. Whether that learning is useful information or not, you’ll have to come and see to decide for yourself. After all, C’s get degrees, and it’s just history, right?

Not to be missed by new and veteran theatre audiences, this show combines laughter and vulnerability to create an unforgettable theatrical experience that will leave you with a smile on your face and a warmth in your heart.

Basement Theatre, Auckland
6 – 10 June 2023


Theatre ,


Has certain raw and immediate qualities ... Amazing

Review by Genevieve McClean 07th Jun 2023

Audacious, funny and endearing.  Confronted with a bumbling professor and a man in a bed-sheet toga, your immediate thoughts may veer to makeshift university presentations and spaces. (Having lived through a few of those, mine does). But through sheer tenacity Vincent Andrew-Scammell, as Professor Ross Jacob Livingston imbued with the magical powers of the ancients, will draw you into another world, into a wondrous courageous risk-taking hot mess of a show, and it goes to say that the more you already know about the ancient Greeks, the more you will love it.

CLAS 103: Greek Mythology is a semi improvised solo show in which professor Jacob Livingston presents the epic mythology of ancient Greece (with the help of his audience), on a bare stage with pretty much… his bare hands.

This ruse for a show that runs like a conglomerate of – highlights of – condensed epics performed with suitable mania, is indeed Herculean. It’s also highly successful. It’s a treat for audiences who love interactive improv forms, but also for anyone who has a spark for the Greek myths and sagas. And therein lies the real treasure of Andrew-Scammell’s performance design.

I’m trying to avoid doing spoilers because I think you should see it without over-thinking, but as an interdisciplinary show that draws a diverse audience, the warming enthusiasm of the crowd to volunteer information about themselves is truly a delight. One gentleman, who I assume might be a retired professor himself, after being provoked into conversation offers: “I’ve written a lot about the Minotaur!”

“Have you?” demurs the Minotaur. “I didn’t think anyone knew…”

The narrative of the show, as a pastiche of Greek Mythology, is upheld by Andrew-Scammell’s performances which are also a pastiche of performance styles. Immediacy in improvisation is illustrated with moments directly from such varied places as blockbuster film epic close-ups and Disney, or at least the cartoon through time. Recognisable caricatures in the physique are viewed through the blur as we speed through eons – the nature of Grecian art being close with this form is not lost on me either, in fact the statuesque trope of the Grecian here seems directly from the side of an urn.

You can’t help but be impressed with moments of stage magic that are transporting – though, like some other features, it’s hard to know how random these are, and it’s interactive-improv! So if you’ve ever wanted to step inside an Asterix, this is a little like a Greek version that would impress Goscinny and Uderzo. Of course it works in Andrew-Scammell’s favour that he has the kind of distinctive features that lend a certain verisimilitude to that of the Greek Gods and heroes.

Yes, it has an unfinished feel. Yes, this show could be polished up, and set to purpose and I would go and see it again in a theatre circuit iteration, but it would be so different. It has certain raw and immediate qualities that are beneficial to the experience, as is where is. One of those is the sense that anything might happen at any moment.

It has opened to a full house on a Tuesday in a small theatre. This season offers four more shows, so book a ticket (choose what you pay), grab your scarf and coat, and friends, get yourself a drink, and be ready for the onslaught.

On my way out, I ask the man who has written ‘a lot about the Minotaur’ what he thought of the show. He looked a little stunned to be honest. His reply? “It was Amazing.” I agree.


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