Two national theatres, the National Theatre of Greece and the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, join forces to stage an iconic play – a tragedy about war and its dead, but also about existential angst, dignity, faith and endurance – in a new translation by the poet Giorgos Koropoulis.
Forty-three years after the National Theatre of Greece’s only production of The Suppliants, directed by Takis Mouzenidis, and 29 years since the Cyprus Theatre Organisation’s first production at Epidaurus, directed by Nikos Charalampous, the play is brought to Epidaurus by the Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Stathis Livathinos, in a collaboration between artists from both countries.
The mothers of the Argive soldiers who lost their lives fighting with Polyneices at Thebes pray at the altar of Demeter in Eleusis. With them is Adrastus, king of Argus. They seek the help of the Athenian king, Theseus, because the Thebans are refusing to relinquish the dead so that they can be buried.
Theseus responds to the just demand by preparing a message for Creon, the king of Thebes, but before he can send it, a Theban messenger arrives with a message from Creon: he asks him to expel Adrastus and the mothers or Thebes will attack Athens.
Theseus leads the Athenian army against the Thebans and brings the bodies of the dead soldiers to Eleusis, where they are burnt. In a delirium, Capaneus’ widow Evadne throws herself on the funeral pyre and is burnt together with her husband. Mothers and children make their way home with the ashes of their loved ones.
Written in 422 BCE, the tragedy is a clear echo of the Battle of Delium, which had taken place two years earlier. There, the Athenians, defeated by Sparta’s ally, Thebes, were prevented for some days from claiming their dead and burying them
Translated by Giorgos Koropoulis
Directed by Stathis Livathinos
Set and costume design: George Souglides
Lighting design: Alekos Anastasiou
Music: Angelos Triantafyllou
Music coaching: Melina Paionidou
Assistant director: Vassilis Andreou
Assistant director: Marina Myrtali
Assistant to the set and costume designer: Maria Kalamara
Dramaturg: Irini Mountraki
Anna Giagiozi, Andri Theodotou, Kora Karvouni, Tzini Papadopoulou, Maria Savvidou, Konstantina Takalou, Tania Trypi, Niovi Charalambous (Mothers of Argive soldiers), Katia Dandoulaki (Aethra), Thodoris Katsafados (Iphis), Katerina Loura (Evadne), Aglaia Pappa (Athena),Akis Sakellariou (Theseus), Christos Sougaris (Adrastus), Andreas Tselepos (Messenger), Harry Charalambous (Herald)
Co-production: National Theatre of Greece - Cyprus Theatre Organisation