Aeschylus' The Persians: The oldest surviving drama in an open - air amphitheater
Originally presented in 472 B.C., Aeschylus' Persians is the oldest surviving tragedy and in effect, the oldest play that has reached modern times. This summer, under the direction of Stavros Tsakiris, the play is being presented on 1st August in an open air amphitheater.
Don't miss the opportunity to watch the oldest living drama in the city that gave birth to theatre and in a venue similar to the Ancient Theatre of Dionyssos.
Situated in very special spots around Athens, open-air amphitheatres allow for the natural surroundings to blend into the performance. Therefore, the whole experience of the performance is never the same, but differentiates greatly in accordance with its different surroundings.
The fact that you probably won't understand a word - since the performance is in Greek! - should not discourage you from living an experience similar to the one that the Athenians had 2,500 years ago, when theatre as an art form was making its first steps.
The play's plot in brief
Unlike most ancient tragedies that take their theme from Greek mythology, The Persians refers to a historic event, namely the Persians' defeat in the sea battle of Salamina in 480 B.C.
The scene is set in Susa, the capital of the Persian Kingdom. The Chorus, representing elder Persian nobles, are anxious and concerned ,since King Xerxis, their sons and myriads of Persians are away on an expedition against Greece. Queen Atossa appears extremely worried due to a dream she had which she considers to be a bad omen for her son.
Following this, a messenger arrives and announces that the Persians have been defeated in the sea battle of Salamina. Atossa asks for details and through the messenger's answers Aeschylus unfolds the battle as well as the political diversity between Greeks and Persians, between democracy and a regime where the king is considered as a god and all other people are his subjects.
Atossa subsequently announces that she will visit the tomb of her husband Darius and pray to him for their son's survival.
Indeed, the ghost of Darius appears to her and reveals that Xerxis' defeat has been a result of his own hybris. Blinded by power and vanity, Xerxis demanded that even nature should bow to his wishes. Accordingly, he tried to wear chains in the sea in order to prove he could rule over a tempest. Nature was seriously affected by his behaviour and took revenge, destroying the Persians completely.
Xerxis himself appears in the last scene. He is storm- tossed, he has returned in defeat and in shame but he is still alive. The Chorus burst into a lament for the Persians' great loss.
Theatro Alsous, Papagos District
For information on ticket booking and selling points, call +302132027186 or +302132027187