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Orestes - Essay Example

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It tells the story of the son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, Orestes, who kills his mother after she kills his father. The story takes place after the Trojan War,…
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Download file to see previous pages But both are in big trouble. A faction in Athens wants to execute them both for murder. They turn to their uncle Menelaus for protection, but they are betrayed. Eventually the god Apollo appears and fixes all of the problems between the people, but for some time it was very close.
The themes of this play are timeless: family honour, the divine, the meaning of war. Nevertheless, these themes could always use some updating and this was done very effectively at the Getty Villa production of Orestes. To be honest, I was very impressed. The differences between this production and one done in ancient Greek are clear. To begin with, in Greece, the play would have been performed in an amphitheatre; in Getty Villa it was performed on a stage in front of a modern audience in modern day California (a state that would not have been settled back in Ancient Greece). In the traditional performance, the actors would have been all male and would probably have worn masks to show their different emotions. In the modern interpretation their costumes are made of nicer material and they are able to act in very innovative ways (some even using the Stravinsky method or method acting). Some of these things would have been seen by the Ancient Greeks to be improvements on the original—for example, they would be sitting in the sun in California instead of in Greece, a country with four distinct seasons. They would probably get used to the actors not using masks, but they may have objected to some of the roles being played by women: ancient Greeks thought women were inferior and should not be allowed to act. This meant that men played the roles of women. It would certainly be strange to see a big burly man playing the role of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world!
One final point, the physical space of any theatre is vital to the success of a performance. I found the use of space at the Getty Villa production wonderful. The acoustics worked perfectly and the actors ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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