Oresteia. It’s the latest from Sydney Theatre Company’s Residents. Head to Wharf 1 and see director Tom Wright’s take on Aeschylus’ take on the ancient mythological subject of King Agamemnon and family. And you thought The Simpsons were dysfunctional!

See Agamemnon return victorious from the Trojan war (“boy, did they get the shock of their lives when we piled out of that timber nag!”). See him bring his white-hot mistress, Cassandra, back home to meet the trouble ‘n’ strife. See Agamemnon get into a whole lot more trouble ‘n’ strife than he bargained for. And he thought a lot of blood was spilled in the war.

See him get it in the neck. And elsewhere. See Cassandra topped, into the bargain.

See Agamemnon’s dutiful son, Orestes, return to cook up a plan to exact revenge on his mother and her lover. See him dispatch the latter and deal with his mother in a way Freud warned us about. See his sister, Electra, show the kind of affection to him for which her name has become infamous; thanks again to Siggy. Hear the cast speak Aeschylus’ eloquent, hard-edged, “poetically licensed” text succinctly and sing Max Lyandvert’s stark, evocative compositions beautifully.

Admire Alice Babidge’s originality as set designer and sensibility in costuming. Revere the technical perfection in evidence; from lighting to sound design and stage management. Revel in Wright’s thoughtful, provocative, courageous decisions. Be amused. Be afraid. Be horrified.

Emerge enriched and fulfilled, in the way only the best theatre can fulfil and suffuse you with a lust for life. “Suffer into truth”, just as Aeschylus’ chorus would have us do. Speculate.

Discuss. Ask questions. Find no answers. Reach no destination. But enjoy the ride.

Sydney Theatre Company’s Oresteia plays the Wharf 1 theatre until July 4. Tickets on the STC website.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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