BAD NEWS! i was there...

created and directed by JoAnne Akalaitis
with Kate Atwell, Greg Taubman and Ashley Tata    
original music by Bruce Odland 


BAD NEWS! i was there... explores the monumental impact of the Messenger character from classic drama – a theatrical device originated by the Greeks, who unapologetically used theater to ask questions of its citizens. Today, the Messenger is eerily reflected in the media reportage of terrifying events as heard in the common, heartbreaking refrain from eyewitnesses: “I was there.” 

Taken from the works of Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Racine, Brecht and more – as seen through the creative lens of translators and poets – this composition/collage oratorio is both spoken and sung, interweaving English with Greek, Latin, French and German and featuring movement influenced by the Indian Kathakali tradition. 

Created in the spirit of the Greek polis, where the audience came together as resident spectators to witness tragedies that called into question the basic rationality of mortals and the justice of the gods, an ensemble of six to eight actors trades the stage for public lobbies in an electrifying performance.  


This performance takes place in the Guthrie's lobbies and requires standing and walking. A limited number of chairs will be available for accessible seating.   

Run Time

Approximately 90 minutes with no intermision

Ticket Prices

All tickets are $9. Seats will not be reserved, the performance requires standing and walking. 

In the news


Theater legend JoAnne Akalaitis returns for one weekend only to present a world premiere at the Guthrie.

Read the Star Tribune article.

Meet the creator/director

JoAnne Akalaitis is a five-time Obie Award-winning theater director and writer, co-founder of the critically acclaimed avant-garde theater company Mabou Mines, former artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and a Drama Desk Award recipient.

In addition to creating many works at The Public Theater such as Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 and Cymbeline, she has staged her own work and works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Janáček, Beckett, Jean Genet, Tennessee Williams and Harold Pinter at Lincoln Center, New York City Opera, Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Court Theatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Hartford Stage, New York Theatre Workshop and Guthrie Theater (The Rover, 1994–1995 Season; The Screens, 1989–1990 Season; and Leon & Lena (and lenz): A Celebration with a Dark Side, 1987–1988 Season). 

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