ACT’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) presents the world premiere of ALEX & ARIS by Moby Pomerance from July 14 to August 6, 2017. ALEX & ARIS is the story of a young prince (who would go on to become Alexander the Great) and his time as a pupil of the great philosopher Aristotle. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show: ACT Theatre’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre.

Fiction can be an exciting way to visit the ancient past. Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean offers another exploration of the relationship between Aristotle and Alexander the Great. The first book in Mary Renault Alexander the Great trilogy, Fire from Heaven examines Alexander’s early life before he ascends to the throne. Set as his army is stalled, just before his final great victory, The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield focuses on Alexander’s military acumen.

After seeing ALEX & ARIS you might be interested in digging deeper into the lives and ideas of these two historic figures. Learn more about Alexander’s life and influence on Western culture in Philip Freeman’s engaging biography Alexander the Great. Arthur Herman’s The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization provides insight as to how teacher and student developed divergent paths to philosophic understanding that are still dividing points today. Gain an understanding of Aristotle’s thinking and influence by reading his own words in Poetics or Aristotle’s Politics.

Curious about the broader context of ancient life? In The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece, Josiah Ober draws on recent research to detail how despite creating a significant civilization and defeating the mighty Persian Empire, the Greeks were swept away by the semi-barbarous Macedonians of Alexander and his father. Produced by PBS, The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization presents the arc of Greek civilization as witnessed by great figures, such as Pericles, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Learn about daily life and culture in Ancient Greece by reading The World of the Ancient Greeks by John McK. Camp and Ancient Greece: Everyday Life in the Birthplace of Western Civilization by Robert Garland. For an even broader view of the ancient world, try Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations, Mary Beard’s witty introductory tour of the ancient world told through themed essays on Alexander and other titans, as well as the lives and times of the common people.

For these suggestions and more see the complete booklist for ACT’s ALEX & ARIS.

     – Posted by Richard V.

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