ETHAL (LIMASSOL THEATRE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY), CYPRUS
ETHAL opens this year’s International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama with Aristophanes’ multifaceted comedy, The Poet and the Women. The women wish to get rid of Euripides, who in their opinion is a misogynist, feeling insulted by the way he abuses them in his tragedies. They take advantage of the Festival of Demeter, Thesmophoria and decide to set in motion a plan to destroy him. As his only way out, Euripides sends his friend Mnesilochus, dressed as a woman, to go to the celebration that is strictly forbidden for men, in order to defend him. Mnesilochus accepts this difficult task. However, in his over eager attempt to justify Euripides, he betrays his sex and things get complicated.
KREFELD AND MÖNCHENGLADBACH THEATRE gGmbH, GERMANY
The Krefeld and Mönchengladbach Theatre gGmbH, the biggest theatre in the Lower Rhine region in the west of Germany, presents the two tragedies of Aeschylus’ trilogy Oresteia, Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers (The Choephori), translated by Peter Stein and directed by Matthias Gehrt.
Agamemnon, the victor of the ten year war of Troy, returns to Argos. There his wife Clytemnestra, mother of Orestes and lover of Aegisthus welcomes him as a victor and murders him shortly after he has entered the palace, without any qualms, as a revenge for the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia. At the same time she assists Aegisthus to become King of Argos. In the second part of the trilogy, The Libation Bearers, the exiled Orestes returns home to take revenge for his father’s murder.
Aeschylus decodes profound realities of the human soul and thought.
FTOCHOLOGIA THEATRE GROUP, CYPRUS
A new theatre group “Ftochologia” presents the last comedy of Aristophanes that survived to us, a scathing critique on the human dream for wealth. Chremylus, swamped in debt, goes to Delphi to ask the oracle whether he should bring up his son as an honest man or as a rascal. On his way back he meets Plutus, who was blinded by Zeus so he would be unable to distinguish between the just and the unjust and would randomly distribute wealth. With the help of Chremylus and his slave Carion, Plutus’ sight is restored at the temple of Asklepios and he decides to bring back justice to society. While everybody is trying to benefit from this new situation, Poverty appears, in an effort to persuade them that wealth never brings happiness.
In Plutus (Wealth), Aristophanes comments on the diachronically timely social injustices and ridicules the unfair distribution of wealth, but also corruption.
DE ROOVERS, BELGIUM
The Belgian theatre company de Roovers participates for the first time in the Festival, presenting the production Oresteia, based on Aeschylus. The trilogy Oresteia, the last and greatest work by Aeschylus, has been characterized as “the greatest achievement of human thought”. Three murders, three culprits; their demons, their fate and their moral dilemmas constitute the vicious circle of revenge that is interrupted by the new order of things. The principle of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is replaced by a different form of justice, the court. The de Roovers group based their performance on the trilogy by Aeschylus, translated into English by the outstanding poet Ted Hughes and into Dutch by Berard Dewulf. The original text is preserved, punctuated with excerpts from contemporary writers.
5th SEASON ART, GREECE
5th Season Art presents Sophocles’ Antigone, a diachronic criticism on the arrogance of power, directed by Themis Moumoulidis, using a new translation by Panayiota Pandazi. It is a contemporary approach to the masterly tragedy presented in a poetic visual environment, complemented with contemporary music by Stavros Gasparatos.
In Antigone, a deeply political text, the need of the free man to live in accordance with his personal value system, clashes with the attempted dominance of an arbitrary and arrogant power. However, is it possible for one to represent the whole of society, and therefore claim universal legitimacy and acceptance of his authority? Antigone decides to bury her brother, convinced that the unwritten law of the heart is above human law.