The Most Difficult Plays – n°13.
The author and the title are enough to place Oresteia in the most difficult plays. It sounds boring & old.
If I add that it is not one play but three, I lose the few who wanted to have courage to come with us.
Do I need to specify that it is about three tragedies?
That’s it, the time for fairy tales is over. Let’s move on to the horrors between adults.
You’ll tell me I’m pessimistic on this one? That’s not wrong.
All the more so since my dream audience seems to be completely allergic to the pieces of antiquity – and especially to tragedies.
So we’re going to have to work a little harder to make them want them.
Well … work.
Putting these huge epic tales into context would be more accurate.
Then it will become easier.
Orestes? Who the hell is this guy?
Orestes – you know, the Trojan War, the Gods, all that.
The Gods of God of War.
The gods of God of War, that my dream audience knows.
That’s good because they’re the same as Orestes’.
Then I can give the argument: kill your husband – kill your mother – deal with your conscience and the demons of anger – all right, here I arrange the Erynias (Furies)/Eumenides in a modern way: it is the judgment of Orestes by an assembly of Gods that I name : “deal with the conscience”
But it’s violent enough to raise an eyebrow on the part of my young audience – what do you mean, very old works worse than modern ones?
And the fact is, yes.
Because it’s a family story, it’s eternal.
Why kill my husband? Because he killed our daughter.
And here is Clytemnestra avenging the blood of his daughter Iphigenia – slyly killed by Agamemnon by the way, the poor girl thought she was going to the altar of her marriage, it was the altar of her sacrifice.
Why kill my mother? Because she killed my father. – It would have been necessary to have only one child. But Agamemnon and Clytemnestra had three. The other two had to revenge their father. And since Orestes is the boy, it’s Orestes who strikes.
How to deal morally with all this? Will Orestes have to suffer the torment of his guilt for all eternity?
Who was the first to be guilty?
And this is the whole story of the Trojan War that comes to the surface – we will be able to take advantage of it to look at Thyestes by Seneca and find with horror and pleasure this family of Atreides that has not been equaled in horror.
And so, as the Trojan War returns to the surface, I have enough to get all my young guys back, there, looking like nothing.
Such a beautiful war – so epic – with such monumental cheating – yes, because the Gods who get involved and cheat, it’s just the invention of the WTF? – presented this way, my terrifying tragedies seem more engaging.
If I add to that an “American B-Series” version for the family stories of the Atreides, they won’t be scary at all anymore – careful, a respectful B-Series anyway, and above all ultra-short, so as not to lose everyone in between: Truc is the son of Machine, who is the step-sister of Z, who is linked to Hera by a 7th degree cousin bond – in short, you know those stories where you stop understanding who is who in relation to whom.
So there will be the first Tragedy: Agamemnon – where we will see horrified the great Greek hero finally return home after 10 years of war. His wife who is waiting for him, who honors him by making him walk on a flowerbed – who offers him a bath and the rest of the warrior.
And who offers him, then nothing to complain about, a complete and totally definitive rest.
Okay, okay, the spectator realizes that the beautiful lady was also unfaithful – and with the cousin too.
Second tragedy: The Libation Bearers – and here are the legitimate children ulcerated: their mother not only has her hands red with the blood of their father, but also openly defiles the common bed. Killing Clytemnestra is the goal. Orestes received the order from Apollo – he is harassed by his sister: what do you want him to do? here is Electra who sends her brother to do justice to their father’s soul. He tried to resist. Resisting Electra is like trying to resist Time – it is completely illusory.
And here is our matricidal poor young man- pursued by the Goddesses of Vengeance.
As for the last tragedy, The Eumenides, it becomes fundamental for the spectator, because it is really too unbearable. We have all understood that Orestes is not at all the master of his destiny – that none of them, moreover, has any real power over his life – so we must understand and find justice: this is what the final tragedy offers – and then it is up to each one to draw from it what he can or wants.
You can therefore maintain me that there is no link between drama and video games.
But I’m going to have a hard time agreeing.
Featured Image : from Electra, a movie by Michael Cacoyannis (1961) – Irene Papas as Electra.