The story of the House of Atreus is of one of the greatest cycles ever conceived by humankind – a diabolical sequence of brilliant dramatic premises. At its heart is an unstoppable chain reaction as each generation, one after the other, tries to solve the problems their parents made worse by trying to solve the problems their parents made worse.
Arguably, the tragedy began when Tantalus fed his son to the Gods to test their omniscience. With the Gods offside the family fell into tragedy upon tragedy. Thyestes and Atreus were the grandsons of Tantalus. Elektra and Orestes were the grandchildren of Atreus.
The tragedy for this generation began when Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia at the outset of a great war a decade ago. His wife, Klytemnestra cannot forgive the murder of their daughter. She conspires with Thyestes’ son Aegisthus to kill Agamemnon when he returns victorious from the war.
Their remaining children, Elektra and Orestes cannot forgive Klytemnestra’s vengeful slaughter of their father. Orestes is in exile and Elektra, Hamlet-like, stalks her mother’s palace looking for a way to achieve some semblance of justice, while their sister, Khrysothemis, tries to keep the peace.
Now place this action in the kitchen of a suburban Australian home. In this vivid adaption all of the action of the Greek myth is reconstructed in an entirely contemporary vernacular and setting.
Anne-Louise Sarks (A Christmas Carol, Medea) has forged a remarkable series of shows by combining the full force of old tales with the uncanny familiarity of modern life. Here she teams with playwright Jada Alberts (Brothers Wreck) to create twin shows in a single night. One whole turn of the bloody cycle of love, justice and revenge.
Director: Anne-Louise Sarks Featuring: Linda Cropper, Ursula Mills, Hunter Page-Lochard, Katherine Tonkin, Ben Winspear Set Designer: Ralph Myers Costume Designer: Mel Page Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper Composer & Sound Designer: Stefan Gregory Dramaturg: Cristabel Sved
Elektra / Orestes
Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
Previews: 14 – 17 March 2015
Season: 18 March – 26 April 2015
Bookings: (02) 9699 3444 or online at: www.belvoir.com.au
For more information, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.
Image: Ursula Mill in rehearsal for Elektra / Orestes – photo by Brett Boardman