by Jean Racine

in a new Translation by Rob Melrose

directed by Ariel Craft

The Cutting Ball Theater

"Rob Melrose’s new translation is excellent, nicely rhythmic and emotionally true. His occasional incorporation of rhymed couplets is subtle and does a fine job of evoking Racine’s classical style."  

-Charles Kruger


Rob Melrose

Click below to download a script sample:

Photos by Liz Olson

Director • Translator • Playwright     

For performance rights, please contact:

Max Grossman

Abrams Artists Agency 275 Seventh Avenue

26th Floor New York, NY 10001

by Jean Racine
in a new translation by Rob Melrose
The Cutting Ball Theater
Paige Rogers, Artistic Director

April 10 - May 21, 2017

Directed by Ariel Craft

Set Design by Nina Ball 

Costume Design by Brooke Jennings

Lighting Design by Nick Kumamoto

Sound Design by Brian Hickey

Props Design by Liz Stanley

Technical Direction by Dave Gardner

Phèdre - Courtney Walsh

Oenone - Karen Offereins

Hippolytus - Ed Berkeley

Aricia - Cecily Bednar Schmidt

Theseus - Kenneth Heaton

Theramenes - Brennan Pickman-Thoon

Ismene - Neiry Rojo

Panope - Emily Radosevish

"A ‘Phèdre’ where every goose bump gets the spotlight

"Rob Melrose’s new translation from the French finds off-kilter ways to make the lust of Queen Phèdre (Courtney Walsh) for her stepson Hippolytus (Ed Berkeley) feel still more verboten and layered. 'The flames of hymen will never light for her,' goes one fiery line. 'I can’t suffer a pleasure that mocks me,' goes another. 

 Cutting Ball’s “Phèdre” is manna for anyone who’s ever felt too much, whose desire overflowed long past the point where true feeling was cool or palatable.​"  

-Lily Janiak

The San Francisco Chronicle

"I recently had the pleasure of seeing Rob Melrose’s translation of Racine’s play Phèdre at the Cutting Ball Theatre in San Francisco.

His rendition of the play captures brilliantly the complexity and subtlety of its main character, Phèdre. The believability of the play’s heroine hangs by the thinnest of celestial threads in the original text: Does she possess the strength of a strong and willful woman, or is she, rather, the prey of ancient, wrathful gods, predestined to suffer divine retribution?

While rendering Jean Racine accessible to English-speaking audiences, the Melrose version remains faithful to the classical ideals of verisimilitude and clarity of expression, and mirrors the simplicity of Racine’s French. Perhaps no scene in the play underscores this better than when Phèdre declares her incestuous love for her stepson, Hippolytus, mistakenly believing that her husband is dead and lost forever.  Here, most importantly, Melrose’s translation neither diminishes the power and immediacy of a modern woman’s passion, nor understates her inescapable tragic curse. He captures at once her irrationality and her strength.  Phèdre is superbly played by an actor, Courtney Walsh, who understands this complexity..​"  

-James Gaasch

Emeritus Professor of Francophone post-colonial literature

at Humboldt State University in California