Toss a Coin Theatre Productions presents "Agamemnon" English play at Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg > 1st-5th October 2012

Time :
1st to 5th October : 7:30 pm
2nd and 5th October : 3:00 pm (Additional Shows)

Duration : 1 hour

Entry : Tickets are Priced at 350 and available via phone bookings : 9871151645/9999231819
discounted tickets (250rupees) for matinées with your student cards OR for booking groups of 25 persons and over.

Place : Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi - 110001
Landmark : Next to RML Hospital Emergency Gate 5
Parking : Ram Manohar Lohia ( RML ) Hospital public parking or Inside Akshara Theatre

Event Details : Toss a Coin Theatre Productions presents 'Agamemnon' English Play.

All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both.- Nietzche on Aeschylean Tragedy.
I wrote and freely translated the play from three different translations- Hughes, Berkoff
and Fagle. The reason the story interested me is simple. It transcends context, both cultural and social. It is a story we are less removed from than we like to think.
The oldest surviving Greek play, ‘Agamemnon’ is a story about the body and its pleasures
and pains. It is also about heat and battle, the ties of blood and the inescapability of
prophesy. Every wrong is justly punished; yet, as the world goes, every punishment
becomes a new wrong, calling for fresh vengeance. It is as if crime were contagious – and
perhaps it is – the dead pursued the living for revenge, and revenge could only breed more guilt. For such guilt is more than criminal; it is a psychological guilt that modern men have felt and tried to probe. Every crime in the House of Atreus, whether children kill their
parents or parents kill their children and feed upon their flesh, is a crime against the filial
bond itself. Perhaps no paradox inspired Aeschylus more than the bond that might exist
between pathos and mathos, suffering and its significance. That bond is life itself.
The story begins with a curse. The curse on the House of Atreus. The founder of the line
was Tantalus, a demi-god whose spirit haunts the Agamemnon. Tantalus, consumed by
his hubris held a banquet for the Gods where he tried to trick them by feasting them on
his son Pelops’ flesh. They in turn, condemned him to starve in Hades. Tantalus's direct
punishment for his act, now a proverbial term for temptation without satisfaction (the
source of the English word tantalise), was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree
with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended
meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded just out of
his reach. This fate has cursed him with eternal deprivation of nourishment. It cursed his
entire line with the same. The house of Atreus is the embodiment of savagery. No other
Greek family can rival it for accumulated atrocities.
Events smudge into each other and Feast of Tantalus tells us the ghastly origins of the
curse. This is a suitable horrific beginning, though horror is not what we wanted but a
revelation of the crime.
The play ‘Agamemnon’ details the homecoming of Agamemnon, King of Greece, from
the Trojan War. Agamemnon’s brother was married to Helen. When Paris stole away Helen to Troy, Agamemon promised to bring her back. This in turn lead to the ten year long battle of Troy.
But when he first sets sail to Troy, the godess Artemis, stops their ships and demands the
sacrifice of his daughter. Clytemenstra, enraged mother, warns him against it. But when
Agamemnon kills his daughter for a good Troy-ward wind, she vows to avenge the bloody
deed and her daughter’s life. Revenge is the driving force throughout the play, as is the
power of desire. Clytemnystra, almost another Lady Macbeth, is propelled by her desire for Justice, yet is she avenging her daughter or her injured pride?
So betrayed is Clytemnestra that she allows into her bed Agamemnon’s cousin, Aegisthus.
Interestingly, this murder will also be revenge for Aegisthus, whose father was fed the flesh of two of his children by his brother Atreus, Agamemnon's father. Every crime in the house of Atreus, is a crime against the filial bond itself.
Agamemnon himself, is a mass of contradictions. As an Athenian audience would have
known, he is a brave but reckless king in the Iliad, and Aeschylus presents him here
as majestic in his power but inhuman. Double standards make adultery acceptable for
Agamemnon, but not for his wife. War has deified the man. His potential as a tragic hero is
Clytemnestra is the far more potent force – like Milton’s Satan (‘Paradise Lost’) in her
ingeniousness, though Milton gradually undermines Satan’s heroic energies while
Aeschylus is building Clytemnestra’s. She is the towering force of ‘evil’. An entire history of
violence marches towards its violent but valid retribution.
Flowing motions accompany words, while sharp poses strike the occasional contrast. The
action is played out by a fluid and capable ensemble, from which protagonists melt in and
out as needed. The Chorus move as one or are used to furnish the frugal set, linking to form thrones or depict battlements. The use of physical movement along with descriptive, lyrical narrative allows for a dramatic build up. The use of a singing-dancing-stage fighting Chorus to provide narration and commentary is a quintessential part of ancient Greek theatre.
Live music, percussion, tamborines and chanting make up the soundscape of the play.
There are songs, rhythms, ditties and the lighting lends itself to complement the physicality
of the performance, shifting from surreal green and blues to sterile white and grimy red.
Movement works with music and with light; and all of it works together to create an
orchestra of the senses.
Our sets are minimal because we hope this will help free the audience's imagination. We
beleive a representational visual aesthetic is a tranquilizer to the creative imagination of
the audience, while a living environment is a stimulant.
By juxtaposing minimal sets with theatrical costumes, dramatic music and lighting, the
visual focus is on the actor.
‘Evil is unspectacular and always human.’ And this is why terror of Agamemnon transcends the terror of most tragedy because it is so human.
The Throne of Argos
Slides on blood, in a tilting house—
Everything rushes
Towards some great scream.
As if creation itself screamed.
As if Justice herself
Were tearing creation open.
Better to be dead and out of it. - Cassandra

Director : Amba-Suhasini K Jhala

Cast members : 
Agamemnon- Anirudh Nair
Aegisthus/Herald- Pranay Manchanda
Cassandra- Kriti Pant
Iphigenia- Amita Rana
Paris/Watchman- Keshav Moodliar
Helen- Uma Katju
Tantalus- Mohit Mukherjee
Clytemnestra- Amba-Suhasini K Jhala

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Toss a Coin Theatre Productions presents "Agamemnon" English play at Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg > 1st-5th October 2012 Toss a Coin Theatre Productions presents "Agamemnon" English play at Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg > 1st-5th October 2012 Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Friday, October 05, 2012 Rating: 5

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