The International Festival of Ancient of Ancient Greek Drama seems to be all about Euripides this year as four of the five productions will present his plays. The Trojan Women opened the festival with a production from Slovenia while there are seven more productions of Euripides’ work to look forward to.
Only Tullio Solenghi and the National Institute of Ancient Drama (Fondazione INDA) of the Syracuse Greek Theatre Festival are putting on a production by a different playwright, Aristophanes’ iconic work Lysistrata.
The Spanish Maltravieso Teatro and La Almena Producciones are up next with Hippolytus on July 8 at Paphos’ Odeon and at Skali on July 10. The Spanish production, which was presented last summer at the 64th Mérida Festival where it received great praise, attempts to recompose the first tragedy written by Euripides, Hippolytus Veiled, based on the surviving Hippolytus Garland-Bearer.
With Phaedra and her stepson Hippolytus as the two main characters, Euripides weaves a tragedy that presents the dilemmas between passion and logic, lawless love, oestrus and its tragic consequences. This performance will have Greek and English surtitles and is suitable for over 16-year-olds.
The Cypriot participation in the festival the following week is a collaboration between local theatre company Belacqua Theatre and the international award-winning Izumi Ashizawa, which will together present Bacchae, combining the techniques of Japanese Noh theatre and ancient Greek drama.
In Bacchae, Euripides recounts the arrival of Dionysus in Thebes in order to impose the worship of his bacchanalian cult. King Pentheus refuses to accept it, and Dionysus gets his revenge. He infuses frenzy among the women of Thebes and Pentheus finds a horrid death at the hands of his own mother, Agave.
The intercultural production aims to create a new performance language, juxtaposing the worlds of East and West, Male and Female, Instinct and Reason, while presenting Dionysus as an ‘idea’, a concept rather than dialectic, provocative and elusive. Japanese-inspired acting techniques and aesthetics are utilised in an attempt to represent Dionysus and Bacchae, as the ‘Other’, through the collision of the native and the newcomer, the resident and the stranger.
Catch it in Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos on July 18, 20 and 22 respectively with English surtitles.
The final production to be presented will be on July 26 and 27 by the National Theatre of Northern Greece. Yannis Kalavrianos directs NTNG’s summer production, Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides, in a new translation by Pantelis Boukalas and with Anthi Efstratiadou, the 2016 recipient of the Melina Mercouri theatre award, in the role of Iphigenia.
The Greek fleet ready to sail to Troy remains stuck in Aulis as the wind has lulled. For the wind to blow it is imperative to sacrifice Iphigenia, the daughter of the commander of the Achaeans, Agamemnon. In Iphigenia in Aulis, the tension between the public and the private, the male and the female, the town and the family, generates characters who do not hesitate to cross the line. Both performances will be at Curium theatre and with English surtitles.
Ancient Greek Drama Festival
23rd edition with performances from local and international groups. Until July 27. Paphos Ancient Odeon, Curium Ancient Theatre, Limassol and Skali Aglantzia, Nicosia. Tel: 7000-2414