On our last day in Sicily, we drove to Syracuse. Jesse was really determined to see this city, however briefly. We only had time to see one landmark, and the Greek Theater was an easy choice.
At one time, Syracuse was the most cosmopolitan city in the Mediterranean. They produced the best theater outside of Athens, performing Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus . The plays had to be pretty entertaining if people were willing to spend hours sitting on the uncomfortable stone benches to watch them.
Having seen cave paintings just two days before helped me appreciate how theater is also a part of a long human tradition. Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. It seems inevitable that eventually someone built seating, a stage, and started selling tickets.
Two and a half millenniums later, my mom acts in community theater in Mansfield, Ohio. Granted, she doesn’t do any Greek tragedies, but the themes are the same. Audiences still want to laugh and cry about the successes and failures of characters–characters who have the same strengths and weaknesses as the Greek heroes. Human nature doesn’t change.
After we saw the theater, we drove 3 hours to drop my mom at her hotel near the Palermo airport. Then we had to drive 2.5 hours back down to our hotel near the Catania airport. It was a long day in the car . . . all because Jesse wanted a t-shirt!
I think he fancied himself a Greek tragedian when he posed for this picture:
And why did Jesse want a Siracusa t-shirt so badly? Because when we move back to the U.S. at the end of June, we are heading to Syracuse, New York. Jesse is going to be an Orange Man, a.k.a. a PhD student at Syracuse University. It seemed only fitting that we see the city which our new home is named after.
I’m not sure what the Greek playwrights would make of Syracuse University’s mascot, Otto the Orange:
We have about two months left in Europe, and a lot more traveling to do, but I find myself thinking more and more about moving back across the ocean. My life has been full of transitions in the past three years, and I’m looking forward to really settling down in one city for awhile.