What a Tragedy

UWEC, Stout partner on epic Greek trilogy The Oresteia

Kristin Frosch

The temple of Apollo at Delphi could use some fixing up.
The temple of Apollo at Delphi could use some fixing up.

Curses, murder, vengeance, and revenge will all be brought to a UWEC stage in Oresteia, an adaptation of the only remaining tragic trilogy in Greece. The production is comprised of Aeschylus’ three tragedies – Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and Eumenides – first appearing in 458 BCE. Due to the length and breadth of each individual piece, they are rarely staged together. This adaptation poignantly tells all three stories, with the themes of justice and retribution as driving forces. Ten years following the Trojan War, the story begins with the murder of Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra, who is in turn, murdered by their son, Orestes. With the intervention of the war gods, Apollo and Athena, the resulting trial valorizes justice in a democratic society, ending a long and tantalizing curse on the House of Atreus and establishing a new system of order. Directors Richard Nimke (UWEC) and Paul Calenburg (UW-Stout) recently traveled to Greece and Turkey to research and study ancient Greek theater. The play was adapted reflecting movement and mask work characteristic of the genre, and will be cast with about 20 UWEC students. Nimke finds the trilogy both stylistically beautiful and relevant to modern audiences. “Because of the meaning of the trilogy and the beauty of the language and how the story is told we were interested in this piece,” he said. “This is also a very dynamic piece of dramatic literature. This is not just a piece for history, but an active and exciting trilogy that we believe will engage a modern audience.” The play is an important piece of dramatic literature, and bringing it to stage will preserve its integrity as both a social and political construct within democratic society.

The Oresteia • Oct. 20-30 • Kjer Theatre, 1602 Park Ave., UWEC campus • 7:30pm except Oct. 30 (1:30pm) • $12 general, $10 seniors/staff, $8 youth, $4.50 student • (800) 949-UWEC • uwec.edu

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