Εθνικό ΘέατροΕθνικό Θέατρο

Bacchae

Euripides

From 02.08.2024

SUMMER TOUR

On Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August, the National Theatre of Greece presents Euripides’ The Bacchae at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. Directed by Thanos Papakonstantinou as part of the Athens Epidaurus Festival, this tragedy of mysticism and ecstasy – but also of barbarity – is an enthralling artistic experience orchestrated by the god of theatre himself, Dionysus.

 

About The Bacchae
When the god Dionysus arrives in Thebes, King Pentheus refuses to acknowledge his first cousin as a divinity and forbids his subjects to worship him. This excites the wrath of Dionysus, who, in a tragic reversal of persecutor and persecuted, leads Pentheus to destruction at the hands of his own mother.

Euripides wrote The Bacchae – a tragedy of Greeks, rulers and people, according to the great Polish theatre critic and theoretician Jan Kott – in the third decade of the Peloponnesian War, when History was now out of control. The great tragic poet composed it during his last year in Macedonia, where he had come into contact with the cult of Dionysus.

Not for the first time bringing his fellow-citizens face-to-face with behaviour that he had condemned throughout his life, Euripides constructed a tragedy – one of the few with Dionysus as a main character – about the god’s conflict with mortals, human virtue and savagery, caution and fallacy, and the rational and the irrational. For Euripides, when man is overcome by his bestial instincts, when barbarity awakens furiously within him, all social co-existence is negated, even when it is that cornerstone of society, the relationship of mother and child.

It is violence that means the end of the city-state of Athens. And as the tragedy grapples with the essence of human identity, political or individual (with the end of the latter), The Bacchae becomes – in many respects – a drama about the death of ancient tragedy itself.


Director’s note
Euripides wrote The Bacchae towards the end of his life, in the late 5th century BC. In it, he brings back to the stage the god Dionysus, the founder of the genre. The god of the theatre, of otherness, of dismemberment and amalgamation, of happiness and disaster, sets in motion a game that Euripides ends with an abandoned body that has been torn apart. 

If what is torn apart on stage is the acceptance of otherness, does this mean that through a rite of passage, a collective act, we have lost the prospect of being open to the Other, our own and the world’s? Will our pieces never be put together again? Are we condemned, like Pentheus, to live hemmed in within our well-fortified individuality, or else to be dismembered? Are there no longer bridges to connect us with one another, with the Other, with the otherness of our feelings, our ideas, our innermost thoughts, with the absurdity within us, with the absurdity of the world? Only in our skin is there safety. Anything either completely outside us, or completely inside us, will forever remain foreign, inviolable, unspoken, unknown, and will therefore be met with violence. Is violence the only language we can understand? A violence that is closed, impenetrable and absolute, a violence that is not open to any kind of initiation to be unlocked, understood, endured. The avalanche of images on the internet, the natural disasters, the bombs, the mutilated bodies and dead children in the media, the dead and soulless selfies, the uncontrolled flows of data, people, products – can we no longer bear spirituality, transcendence, uplift, because the only god we can understand is the god of the old covenant, the vengeful god, the punitive god? Is that who we deserve? 

Or is the dismembered body at the same time a puzzle that can be completed, a construct that shows us its parts, a spectacle? And is it up to us, the audience, whether and how to assemble it? 


Thanos Papakonstantinou

Information

Summer Tour

EPIDAURUS ANCIENT THEATRE
VIP €55 • ZONE Α΄ €50 • ZONE Β΄ €30/ SCHOOL STUDENTS (UP TO 18 Y.O.) €13/OVER 65Y. €22/ GROUPS €22 • UPPER TIER €25, €20, €15/ Restricted view€10, GROUPS €15 • UNEMPLOYED €5 •UPPER TIER €5 (FREE ENTRANCE FOR MEMBERS OF THE GREEK ACTORS UNION/THEATROLOGISTS)/RESIDENTS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF LYGOURIO(Friday) €5) •DISABLED €5 

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifTicket information and purchase for the performances at the Epidaurus Ancient Theatre: www.aefestival.grwww.more.com 

We would like to thank Paschalis Zervas for digitally editing the photographs

Duration: 120' 
With Greek and English surtitles

The production contains scenes of nudity and violence. It is not suitable for under 15s.

Supported by

media galleryphotos by © Elina Giounanli

Bacchae

Euripides

SUMMER TOUR

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