Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday at 21:30 –for the entire summer period. Ticket booking: www.viva.gr
On May 15 "Sophocles' Electra" premiered at Syghrono Theatro. It is the only performance taking place during the summer in Athens and addresses both Greeks and foreigners, since surtitles are available at the performance.
A modern approach of the famous tragedy performed by an outstanding team of young actors, under the directions of Dimitris Xanthopoulos and according to the translation by Giorgos Cheimonas. There are surtitles in two different languages daily, according to the weekly plan. The intention is to meet the needs of the visitors of Athens as well as those of its non Greek-speaking residents.
In Electra by Sophocles everything takes place within a day. It starts at dawn with the murder of Orestes and is completed that very evening with the murder of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Their life ends when the tragedy ends. There is no future. As in a performance. The end of the play signifies the end of its "life". This "play", the "matching" of the characters' situation with the situation of those who enact them becomes the focal point of action on stage.
Sophocles' text leads towards this direction. In the first scene with Orestes and the Tutor, and the voiceless Pylades, the Tutor takes up a role of playwright-director. He gives the actor-Orestes his scenic identity on stage and defines the space ("Son of him who led our hosts at Troy of old, son of Agamemnon! – now thou mayest behold thine eyes all that thy soul hath desired so long. There is the ancient Argos of thy yearning"). At the same time, he signals to everyone involved that the time has come for the past, infused in rehearsals, to become the future; that the time has come for the drama action to take place. Orestes responds by taking on the role of playwright-director and reveals what we will see in the rest of the play.
In this tragedy speech becomes action, and it is the very reason why the realization of the drama (Clytemnestra's murder) is delayed. It will take a lie, a "directed death" of Orestes for the heroes to pass into action, when words will make no sense (Electra: "Well! I must do this deed with mine own hand, and alone; for assuredly I will not leave it void"). For this "theatre within the theatre" to culminate with the scene of the recognition, the focus of which is an empty urn, a lifeless and empty object capable of making Orestes give in, deviate from his plan and reveal himself to Electra...
Sophocles builds a world where the characters have to "play" a role. Electra can only be Electra, Orestes can only be Orestes, Clytemnestra can only be Clytemnestra. And though everyone knows the story, the ending with the killing of the two lovers, this inevitable fact, becomes the most interesting part. The relations of the characters, their lives behind the guises, the situation revealed through the conflicts between them as well as within.
It is as if every word they utter is another blow in a boxing fight.