Murder, blood, revenge. Endless. Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia, his wife Klytaimnestra kills him and is murdered by her own son. Only a goddess can stop the spiral of violence. Is this really the founding myth of Western civilization? Swiss director Milo Rau, winner of many awards, has his doubts. In ORESTEIA he combines ancient history with our current political conflicts. He asks: How can fundamentalist warriors be integrated into society today? Can this succeed?

What distinguishes ORESTEIA from other Oresteia stagings?

Milo Rau: Our international ensemble and our view on the topic. In 2016 I was in northern Iraq in the completely destroyed city of Sinjar. It was like being in a TV picture and a classic epic at the same time. Then the idea arose to adapt Aeschylus‘ antique Oresteia for our time. How can the divided parties live peacefully together again in the Syrian-Iraqi civil war? This is the old question of mankind: how can an offence be atoned for without new violence being provoked again.

Do you see a solution?

Milo Rau: With Aeschylus, only the goddess Athena can stop the violence: she offers the goddesses of revenge a place in society. Inclusion instead of exclusion. Hugs instead of hatred. But what do we do with jihadists when the ISIS is over and they return to their Iraqi villages (or to Europe)? There are warriors all over the world who return home from wars. How can they be "civilized" again?

How is the performance created?

Milo Rau: We rehearse in several phases. One part of the project will also be in Mossul in Iraq: in a barracks of Peshmerga in Kurdistan, in cooperation with local fighters, poets and inhabitants. Filming from there will also be part of the performance.

In Dutch with English and German surtitles

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Fri, 17.05.
Wed, 22.05.
Fri, 24.05.
Sun, 26.05.
With: Elsie de Brauw, Risto Kübar, Joke Emmers, Johan Leysen, Bert Luppes, Marijke Pinoy, Susana A. Majid, Duraid Abbas Ghaieb
Premiere: 17.05.2019
  • Text: Milo Rau and ensemble after Aischylos
  • Director: Milo Rau