Plaudits for Modern Revival of “Orestes” at Epidaurus

At this year's Athens-Epidaurus Festival, director Giannis Kakleas' revival of Euripides' play “Orestes” has been one of the many highlights so far.

Watched by more than 15,000 spectators (with physical distancing regulations in place) at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus over a run of three nights, July 16-18, the production enthralled audiences and has earned director Giannis Kakleas warm reviews.

Greek actor Aris Servatalis, nominated for a Hellenic Film Academy Award for Best Leading Actor for the film “L” in 2012, played in the eponymous role, ably supported by a richly talented cast, including Mary Mina (Electra) and Panos Vlachos (Menelaus).

Noted for his hugely successful productions of Aristophanes’ comedies, this was Kakleas’ first directorial foray into ancient tragedy. Presented in a modern Greek translation by Giorgos Chimonas, the set design was reminiscent of the interwar period of the 20th century, inspired by underground club culture. Kakleas’ trademark black costumes were worn by the 9-person Chorus.

Euripides’ play, composed in 408 BC and first performed at the Dionysia festival in ancient Athens, follows the aftermath of Orestes’ killing of his mother, Clytemnestra, to avenge the death of his father, king Agamemnon, at her hands. Full of plot twists and sharp political commentary, “Orestes” poses challenging questions about generational and gender relationships, social cohesion and the role of the gods.

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