Oresteia Epidaurus Theatre Athens Festival
The ancient theatre of Epidaurus. Photograph: AEF/Evi Fylaktou

ORESTEIA by Aeschylus – Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

Where: Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
When: 28 & 29 June 2019
Why Go: See Aeschylus’ trilogy at an iconic venue

This production of Oresteia by Aeschylus at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus forms part of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival programme for 2019.

A bold, original concept by the National Theatre of Greece: Oresteia, the only extant ancient drama trilogy is presented in a single performance by three directors in their Epidaurus debut, with a single cast and crew: Agamemnon by Io Voulgaraki, The Libation Bearers by Lilly Meleme and The Eumenides by Georgia Mavragani.

Oresteia Epidaurus Theatre Athens Festival

The ancient theatre of Epidaurus during a performance. Photograph: Thomas Daskalakis/NTG

Agamemnon

Directed by Io Voulgaraki

In the first part of Aeschylus’ trilogy, King Agamemnon returns to Argos, shortly after the end of the Trojan War. Agamemnon triumphantly marches into the city and his palace, flaunting the Trojan princess and Apollo priestess Cassandra as his captive. Clytemnestra welcomes her husband, all pomp and circumstance. However, it is quickly revealed that her enthusiasm conceals a well-orchestrated plan. She has decided to take revenge for the murder of their daughter, Iphigenia, sacrificed by Agamemnon to get the Greek ships sailing about ten years ago. The red carpet Clytemnestra rolls out for Agamemnon’s return foreshadows the impending bloodbath, as she and her accomplice/lover, Aegisthus, plot to murder the king and his concubine.

 

The Libation Bearers

Directed by Lilly Meleme

In the second part of Aeschylus’ trilogy, Electra take centre stage, mourning her murdered father and obsessively anticipating the return of her brother, Orestes, her beacon of hope, with whom she plans to take revenge for Agamemnon. In the beginning of the play, Electra mourns over her father’s grave. The Libation Bearers, the women of the Chorus accompanying her, add to her laments. There, Electra is reunited with her brother, who returns after many years abroad, together with his loyal friend, Pylades, both disguised as outsiders. Upon seeing her in mourning, Orestes realizes they will be allies and reveals himself to her. Things escalate very quickly: aided by Electra, Orestes and Pylades pretend to be foreigners bringing the dead Orestes’ ashes home to Clytemnestra. After Clytemnestra welcomes Orestes, he reveals his identity to her and subsequently murders both her and her lover and accomplice, Aegisthus. The Furies arrive, relentlessly pursuing Orestes until the moment he will be acquitted at Areopagus.

ORESTEIA Epidaurus Theatre Athens Festival Crowds

A packed house at last year’s Athens and Epidaurus Festival. Photograph: Thomas Daskalakis/NTG

The Eumenides

Directed by Georgia Mavragani

The third part of the trilogy revolves around Orestes’ pursuit by the Furies and the holy trial he must submit himself to in order to be acquitted and the Furies can be appeased and transformed into Eumenides. The Areopagus court is also established in this play, often considered to be a foundational play of Athenian democracy.

Why Athens Tip: The performance will be performed in Greek with English subtitles.

TICKETS FOR ORESTEIA AT EPIDAURUS

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GETTING TO THE VENUE

Epidaurus theatre is located at Palea Epidaurus in the region of Argolis. It is approximately a two and a half hour drive from Athens. Why Athens offers transfers to the theatre and back to the centre of Athens exclusively on performance nights (June – August 2019) for 55 euros per person return. BOOK YOUR TRANSFER HERE and enjoy an ancient Greek play under the stars in Epidaurus. LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE.

Oresteia Epidaurus Theatre Athens Festival

ABOUT THE ANCIENT THEATRE OF EPIDAURUS

The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is regarded as the best preserved ancient theatres in Greece, famous for its perfect acoustics. Constructed in the late 4th century BC, it has a capacity of more than 12,000 spectators.

 

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