Jonathan Groff

Cross-dressing kills in The Bacchae

Cross-dressing kills in The Bacchae

In the Public Theater’s production of Twelfth Night for Shakespeare in the Park, cross-dressing gets Viola many things but death isn’t among them. For Pentheus (Anthony Mackie), the unlucky King of Thebes in The Bacchae, donning a dress, heels and a wig gets him torn apart, limb from limb, by his own mother who then saunters about the stage with his bloody head. It’s a bit of a change from the happy-go-lucky ending of Twelfth Night, but then again this is Greek tragedy.