A tale of bloody revenge
Family relations don’t come much more painful than those depicted in Sophocles’ standout story of revenge Electra. And the two-and-a-half thousand year-old play about honour, justice and vengence will be the Company of Ten’s next production.
This highly accessible version by Kenneth McLeish uses clear modern language and themes to ensure a rich theatrical experience for today’s audiences, who will recognise the idea of expedient, vengeful killing from current news stories.
“Electra is considered Sophocles’ best character drama,” says director Roger Scales, “because of its in-depth examination of the morals and motives of Electra herself. The play asks what sort of woman would want so keenly to kill her own mother.”
To appease the gods at the outset of the Trojan wars, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia and sent his son Orestes into exile to keep him safe. When Agamemnon returned from the war, his wife Clytemnestra took her revenge by killing him. And now their daughter Electra harbours thoughts of avenging her father’s death as she waits for the return of her brother Orestes. It’s only a matter of time before blood is spilled again.
“But this isn’t just a straightforward revenge drama,” says Roger. “What Sophocles does so well is to acknowledge the bad side of the heroes and the good side of the villains, and in so doing blurs the distinctions between the two, giving the play a morally ambiguous and very modern tone. As the New York Times says, ‘Sophocles’ Electra is one of dramatic literature’s most compelling studies of the extremes to which vengeance can lead.’”
Performances take place in the Studio from Friday 9th – Saturday 10th November at 8pm; Sunday 11th November at 2.30pm and Tuesday 13th – Saturday 17th November at 8pm. To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.