This production of The Suppliants by Euripides at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, was first presented as part of this year’s Athens and Epidaurus Festival.
Two national theatres, the National Theatre of Greece and Cyprus Theatre Organisation, join forces to produce an iconic play: a tragedy about war and the dead, existential dread, dignity, faith and resilience.
Written in 422 BC, the tragedy echoes the battle of Delium (424 BC), in which the Thebans, allies of Sparta, defeated the Athenians and for several days would not allow them to retrieve their dead and bury them properly.
The mothers of the Argive generals who perished in Thebes fighting by Polynices’ side become suppliants at the temple of Demeter in Eleusis, joined by Adrastus, king of Argos. The suppliants plead with Theseus, king of Athens, to help them: the Thebans are keeping their dead sons as spoils of war and will not allow them to be buried.
In response to this just plea, Theseus decides to send out a message to Creon, king of Thebes. Soon, a Theban messenger arrives bringing a message to Theseus: he is to drive Adrastus and the mothers away, otherwise the Theban army will attack the Athenians. Theseus leads the Athenian army against Thebes and ultimately retrieves the corpses and has them carried to Eleusis, where they are to be burnt properly.
This new production is brought to life by the artistic director of the National Theatre of Greece, Stathis Livathinos.
Why Athens Tip: The performance will be performed in Greek with English subtitles as advised by the ticketing agent.
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