The Cyprus Theatre Organisation will stage Euripides’ The Phoenician Women this summer, directed by Magdalena Zira. Kicking off in July, the production is included in the events commemorating 50 years since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, with performances in Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and Deryneia.

The Phoenician Women, which belongs to Euripides’ late period, was written between 410 and 409 BC, in the last tumultuous years of the Peloponnesian War, shortly after the brief but harrowing Oligarchic Coup and the rule of the Four Hundred. It is a drama with a rich plot that traces the legacy of the trauma of war from generation to generation, shedding light on ideas of reconciliation, peace, justice and equality.

The story place in the besieged city of Thebes. Seven Argive generals are preparing to attack the city on the instructions of the exiled Polynices, whose brother, Eteocles, has undertaken to defend it. Shortly before the battle, Jocasta hopes to prevent a war by arranging a truce so her sons can meet and reconcile. However, the curse of their father, Oedipus, whom the two brothers have imprisoned to keep the shame of incest hidden, threatens to lead them to mutual fratricide.

In the crucible of war, the young Antigone endures a violent coming-of-age, while Creon’s young son, Menoeceus, becomes a model of selflessness. Power constantly changes hands during the play, but the leaders of the city, blinded by their passions, repeat the mistakes of the past. The tragic fall of the House of Labdacus is even more pitiable as it is juxtaposed with the Chorus’ references to the city’s glorious past.

Euripides’ groundbreaking drama condenses all the most known aspects of the Theban Cycle into a single play, along with a number of innovations. What would happen if the fratricide could be avoided, if the war could be stopped, if the interventions of Jocasta and Antigone could deliver the house from the evils of fratricide, war, hubris and the stain of guilt?

Performances will begin on July 10 in Nicosia, staged at the Makarios III Amphitheatre, School for the Blind for four nights. The play will then travel to the Ancient Amphitheatre of Kourion on July 19 and 20 before heading to the Paphos Ancient Odeon on July 24. In Larnaca, it will be part of the Larnaca Festival 2024 performances on July 27 before its final show on July 31 at the Municipal Amphitheatre of Deryneia.

The Phoenician Women

THOK presents Euripides’ tragedy. July 10-13. Makarios III Amphitheatre, School for the Blind, Nicosia. July 19-20. Paphos Ancient Odeon, Paphos. July 24. Paphos Ancient Odeon, Paphos. July 27. Pattihio Municipal Amphitheatre, Larnaca. July 31. Municipal Amphitheatre of Deryneia. 9pm. In Greek.