The annual “International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama” kicks off its 2018 season with “Trojan Women” on Tuesday 3rd July at Limassol’s Curium Ancient Theatre, just a short drive – 24 kms (15 miles) – west along the coast from Londa Hotel. The staging of the historic play in 2018 is sure to resonate with hotel guests and visitors to Limassol who seek cultural luxury experiences during their stay.
It’s timeless story of the courage and strength of the women of Troy after their city was sacked by the Greeks was written by classical tragic dramatist, Euripides, around 415 BC. The captured Trojan women and their queen, Hecuba, are to become slaves to the Athenian victors. The eternal universal themes of cruelty, pain and suffering, which are inflicted upon the women are explored in their passionate expression of grief and sorrow.
Constant theme throughout world history and culture
Heroic women enduring against all the odds is a constant theme throughout world history and culture, and their struggles continue to this day. Britain is currently celebrating the centenary of women being allowed to vote for the first time, although this right only extended to women aged 30 and over who owned property. Cypriot women (and men) were only granted universal suffrage when the island gained independence in 1960.
It was in 1997 that the Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute (CCOITI) first launched the “International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama” as a platform for theatre companies from around the world to present ancient Greek drama in their own language. The role call over two decades is impressive with drama companies from near and far including, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden UK and USA.
New approach to the ancient Greek dramas
The universal human themes of the classic Greek tragic playwrights – Sophocles 497-405 BC, Aeschylus 523-456 BC and Euripides 480-406 BC – are recognised as the basis of contemporary European drama and the establishment of an enduring cultural heritage. The words of the ancient Athenian dramatists can still speak with direct relevance to the concerns and issues of audiences in today’s world. While many performances present a new approach to the ancient Greek dramas they can also project a distinctive cultural flavour of the player’s country of origin.
Trojan Women, produced by Nicosia company, Theatro Ena, examines the violence of war and the horrific, dire consequences brought upon women and children. It’s the third play of a trilogy written by Euripides – the preceding two plays, Alexandros and Palamedes are lost. The drama is thought to be a commentary on the capture of the Aegean island of Melos in 416 BC during the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) between Athens and Sparta, and the subsequent slaughter and subjugation of its inhabitants by the Athenians.
The play points to the tragic irony of Hecuba and the Trojan women – widows, mothers, sisters and daughters – who retain a courage and a dignity which their Greek captors have all too easily lost. Two and half thousand years later, and the rights, status and role of women in the modern world continue to be centre stage in many countries of the world.
Increased participation in the island’s economic progress
In Cyprus over the last forty years, women have seen an increased participation in the island’s economic progress. Greater public awareness of women’s issues is accompanied by a government policy aimed at the promotion of gender equality. While the proportion of women active in the labour force has risen from 30 per cent in 1976 to 44 per cent today, Cypriot women can still be expected to fulfil the traditional domestic roles of housewife and mother.
The Festival continues at the Curium Ancient Theatre throughout July with productions of ‘Agamemmon’ by Aeschylus (14th-15th), and two further plays by Euripides – ‘Orestes’ (20th-21st) and ‘Alcestis’ (30th). All plays can also be seen performed at the Ancient Odeon in Paphos and the “Skali” Amphitheatre Aglantzia in Nicosia.
For further info or to book tickets click here to the Greek Drama Festival site.