Flashback Friday: Epidaurus Theater



Back in 2003, I was teaching in Birmingham [UK, not USA] and had many opportunities to travel. During one of our breaks, I hopped a plane to Greece and toured to the granddaddy of all outdoor amphitheaters: the great Theater of Epidaurus.

It’s huge. Massive. And yet, while standing in the middle, you can hear an actor speak in an “inside voice” all the way up the top. Here’s me, acting like Thespis:


I remember taking theatre classes as both an undergraduate and a graduate student and learning about this incredible site. Western theatre as we know it started here with the Greeks. It was an incredible experience to stand in this theater, built centuries ago: humbling and inspiring all at the same time.

So tell us: where have you travelled to that has both inspired and humbled you? Sometimes we are lucky to travel outside the country, but other times our eyes are wide open to the treasures that are more local. Tell us where and why!

Categories: International Thespian Association


20 replies

  1. This summer I went to Seattle with my friends and it inspired me. It inspired me because it’s such a great city I would love to live their.

  2. I love traveling to Reno, Nevada, I get to have a fun vacation! Going out to eat and visiting my family. The best part is going to the rib festival during september

  3. I’ve traveled to Texas. Texas is very inspirational to me because my family is from there and I’ve learned a lot about my family ancestors who lived there and what they did to keep their community and family safe. Texas is also very beautiful, but the weather can get scary.

  4. Sounds so cool how you got to travel there! I’ve only traveled out of the country to Mexico and it made me so thankful for what I have because life over there can be so different for some people.

  5. I have traveled to Mexico several times. It humbled me because I got lost in a city there for a day one time.

  6. I’m waiting to take a trip that will hopefully change my perspective on life and how to appreciate many things in general. I’m going to Cuba, I’m super excited for my trip but scared in reality, because I do not know what I will be expecting.

  7. Within the short years of my life I have been blessed to travel to many parts of the country, most notably Big Sur. The atmosphere and beauty of all the trees made me ponder the many mysteries of life and how a seed so small could grow into a gargantuan tree decades later.

  8. I have travel to Colorado. I was at a softball tournament and got to play at columbine high school. This was very creepy and scary because of the massacre that had happened there. And seeing the softball coach that got kill. Seeing his statue made me realize how lucky we are to be alive. It made me respect and honor my coaches even more.

  9. Wow this theater looks amazing! When I first saw this I thought it was the Natividad Creek Park we have here in Salinas… not sure if you’ve seen it but if you haven’t you should totally check it out and you’ll notice these two places do look alike! I haven’t been there in a while so I’m not sure if the place is still there. I don’t travel much but a few years ago I went to Mexico to visit my mom’s side of the family, it was an amazing experience and all the sightseeing made me realize so many things. It made me realize that I shouldn’t complain much because there are people out in the world that aren’t even close to having what I have, I may not have everything I want but I am lucky enough to have a roof over my head and food at the table.

  10. The watt towers in Los Angeles, they inspired me because it shows how one man can make something out of nothing. It humbled me because the man gave up all of his time to better his comunity.

  11. I don’t get to travel a lot but during summer break, I was able to go with the GATE club to oregon and saw two plays at the Shakespearean festival. After, we were able to meet one of the actresses, turns out she studied for something and ended up there, but she loves it. This inspired me to follow dreams and not just what’ll bring in money.

  12. That place are extremely look cool, I will go there someday.

  13. I haven’t traveled neither out of state or out of the country. But my wish is to travel to Mexico and see where my family comes from because my parents say that there life is different today than it was back then.

  14. It looks amazing and definitely want to travel to Greece! These pictures give us a good view on the beauty of the theater, it looks like it’d be a fun trip to visit and just enjoy the beauty of how things used to look like.

  15. That place looks so beautiful! I want to go there someday!

  16. One of the things I really love to do is travel. My dream is to one day travel the whole world and see the world with others people’s eyes. So far I haven’t gone out the country, but I have been to Colorado and Oregon. It was a really fun experience and I can’t wait to travel even more during my life.

  17. One of my favorite traveling experiences that I can think of right now wasn’t out of the country and it wasn’t necessarily local, either. Back during my last few days of college, I went on a trip to Orange County with my dearest college friend. I met her around the second day at UCLA, and after that, well, that’s another story.

    One story I do want to share and I love sharing is the exact moment where the gears towards friendship started cranking at full speed. My roommate and I were going out to eat dinner when I saw my friend E. waiting by the elevator. “I”m going to Hedrick Dining Hall since they’re serving paella, do you want to come with me?”

    We went to the dining hall with her, as she explained this unknown dish to me. She said it was this rice dish with saffron and seafood, cooked in a big cast iron pan. We were all excited to try the dish, and the trek to the dining hall (which, mind you, was at the top of this big hill! UCLA’s dorms are built on a hill. Our dorm was at the bottom of the hill, and this dining hall was at the peak) seemed less strenuous.

    When we got to the dinning hall, we were surprised: no paella! The menu had deceived us! It was a sad day.

    Eventually, I got to eat paella with E. It was dining hall paella and it was good, but nothing like the paella she fell in love with. She said she went to eat with once with a dear teacher, and they went to a restaurant where they served a tasty, large portion of paella. It sounded delicious, especially when you compared it to the sad little scoop of UCLA paella resting at the bottom of my bowl.

    E. and I became roommates after freshman year, and we were always roommates after that. I’ve had tons of adventures with her, from suddenly finding ourselves in a “bad” neighborhood of LA at night, watching TV shows and movies in classrooms at night, having vent out and talk out sessions at night, each of us on our respective beds and each of us clutching our respective comfort creatures (she hugged a pillow she had since childhood, I hugged my dinosaur plush Alexo), and sharing the general ups and downs of college life. We dragged other friends along to eat paella at the dining hall, too! One particular dorky pair of friends called the paella nothing more than “wet rice”. Then again, this was a pair of guys who we called husband and wife. We would see them walking down the dorm hall together. “Where are you going?” we’d ask. “To the bathroom!” “Together?” “Yeah.” Or who can forget the times one has made the other get up and bring him dessert. But I digress, as per usual.

    I decided to stay in LA a week after I graduated so we could have one week of crazy adventures. Well, crazy in our book. We visited a restaurant that stole our hearts away in Venice (fun fact: we went there for the paella!), got on the rooftop Jacuzzi at night with the tall city buildings all around us, and jumped in the on campus fountains at night. Crazy adventures of that sort. We convinced one or friends to drive us to Orange County to visit a friend, but more importantly, to visit that paella restaurant she fell in love with. And we did just that. We stopped by Irvine to visit a graduating ceremony, see some friends, pick up my friend, and drove to the restaurant.

    So there we were, the four of us, in the restaurant. Three of us ordered paella. We got the dish and dug in. It was delicious! Big shrimp, mussels, sausage, chunks of fish…if you love seafoood and rice, give paella a try. It’s delicious!

    I didn’t realize it that moment, but the trip to the paella place was a nice way of ending that whole college journey. If the journey was a book, that story would definitely find it’s way in the concluding pages, you know? Here’s this dear friend of mine who I met in the beginning, grew close over some mysterious dish I didn’t know, and there I was: My last few days in SoCal and I’m in that famous restaurant, finally eating the dish with my friend. It’s really silly when you think about it, how so many of our adventures revolve around this dish!

    Running with the book theme, if a high school teacher picked up this story and taught it to their class, I’m sure they’d find a way to make the paella a symbol for our friendship. I’m sure they’d make it about the content of the dish, how each ingredient, flavor, and texture meld together so wonderfully to make a flavorful dish, with each spoonful different than the other. How the dish is delicious when hot, and still manages to be delicious when cold. How sometimes you might accidentally bite a piece of shell and get a little upset with the paella, but the next shell-free spoonful reminds you how tasty the meal is. They’d find a way to compare that to our friendship, and well, they wouldn’t be too far of the mark.

    So while I ramble and procrastinate (I should be composing my CV right now…), a journey or trip that has, I guess in a way inspired and humbled me, was that trip to the little restaurant. You realize how these little things like sharing one’s liking of a dish with a person can catapult you into this wonderful friendship with a person. It really made me wonder: how many “great friends” did I snooze out on making? Now I’m trying to be a little bit more optimistic (I remember when thinking the world was sour and nothing good can happen was cool or normal; those were the same days when sarcasm was alluring. Ah yes, high school days), a little bit less shy and quiet, and a little bit more open hearted. Life’s full of twists and turns, sharp falls and steep climbs…making friends along the way makes the journey so much more fuller, I hope.


    PS–Hi Mrs. Rillingale!

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