On the 2nd of November 2015 Fantastico Theatro organized a staged reading of a new translation of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis. Our company is planning a production of this play in the next year and the reading is part of a series of events that will help us prepare for this difficult task: staging a Greek tragedy in a new translation and with a contemporary outlook.
It was a very auspicious moment: Professor Edith Hall was able to join us for this first public presentation of the new translation by Maria Gerolemou, Chrysanthi Demetriou and Maria Pavlou.
Edith Hall, well known to a wide audience through her books, broadcasts, and blog, is a distinguished scholar of Greek civilization, and an ardent supporter of classics education for everyone. She has with a special interest in Greek drama and reception. Before the reading she gave a wonderful presentation on the production history of this enigmatic play from the Renaissance until today. We were really happy to find a lot of common ground in Edith’s interpretation of Euripides’ play and our own vision for the production.
Iphigenia at Aulis is a bold deconstruction of the ‘official’ myth of Iphigenia’s sacrifice. Euripides, writing a few months before the end of the Peloponnesian War and shortly after the disastrous Sicilian campaign, which cost the lives of many young Athenians, is attacking a rotten system: this is an attack on the political rhetoric that uses concepts such as ‘patriotism’ and ‘divine command’ to send young people to their death. As Edith Hall stressed in her presentation, the play exposes political spin-doctoring thousands of years before the term was invented. It shows us the danger posed to a society by brainwashing, fanaticism, nationalism, all tools used by power-mongering politicians.
This is what we are focusing on in this production. But we also really want to explore the close human relationships in a family about to be torn apart for ever.
it is a story about the power of mob, about lies, about corruption, but also a story of coming of age, of a mother’s love for her daughter, of a girl’s love for her father. It is a coming of age story for the young women of the chorus as well: we ask ourselves why Euripides chose to have a chorus of young women in this play set in a dangerous military camp?
The staged reading of a shortened version of the translation was performed by: Neocles Neocleous (Agamemnon), Anna Yiagiozi (Clytemnestra), Niki Dragoumi (Iphigenia), Valentinos Kokkinos (narrator, Menelaus, messenger), Nektarios Theodorou (Achilles), Polyxeni Savva (chorus, messenger). Directed by Magdalena Zira.