The Atreus family is in turmoil.
10 years have passed since Clytemnestra’s husband, Agamemnon, sacrificed their eldest daughter, Iphigenia, in order to stop military defeat. Clytemnestra is left to exact revenge.
Blood for blood, wound for wound, act for act: Aeschylus’ earth shattering trilogy tells the story of a family at war with each other. Husband against wife, wife against son, son against mother.
Their battlefield is an icy wound upon which terse family bonds are exposed and tightened, an empty stage on which the world’s oldest tragedy ricochets back into existence.
The Oresteia is reborn.
The Oresteia is everywhere. The story it tells, of course, is unique. But this play is more than its plot and its events. At its foundation, this play is made up of blood, body and soul. We might not always recognise strange echoes of plots or allusion, but what we feel and physically experience in any tragedy is indebted to the raw energy of this play, an Agamemnon figure in itself. Our duty is to bring this energy alive so that it sparks and ricochets off the walls in the ADC. The soul of Greek tragedy, buried beneath years of academic dust, classical mystifications and inaccessible jargon, is waiting to rise up from its earthy tomb.
Our set, for the most part, is an empty white stage. On this blank canvas, every interaction, every look and every touch is illuminated and exposed. There is nothing superfluous, nothing to clutter the humanity of this living and breathing text. Our twelve actors, standing on a liberated stage, must tap into each other and listen to the immortal soul of a story 2500 years old.
Resurrecting a classic is not easy. Rehearsals have been intense, challenging, thrilling. Every single detail is crucial. Every intention must be uncovered. I have chosen an early 20thCentury verse translation because it has forced us to work hard, to unpick exactly what these characters are saying. Meaning – both narrative and psychological - must be excavated and brought out of the verse. If we can unlock this, we can unlock Aeschylus’ play.
For these five nights we hope that The Oresteia can once more flood the theatre with its enthralling story and its throbbing heart, so that you – our audience –might feel exactly what was first felt all those years ago in Ancient Greece, and what will continue to be felt for as long as theatre exists.