Aeschylus’ The Seven Against Thebes, directed by Marco Baliani, and Euripides’ The Phoenician Women, directed by Valerio Binasco, were staged at the Greek theatre of Siracusa for the 53rd Festival del Teatro Greco from 6 May to 8 July 2017. Although the two plays deal with the same episodes of the Theban myth, that is, the siege of Thebes by the Argive army and the fratricidal conflict between Eteocles and Polynices, they adopt different dramaturgical, ethical, and political perspectives. Both stagings involved estranging and modernizing devices. Baliani succeeded in vividly rendering the motif of fear aroused by wartime violence, turning it into the leitmotiv of a production set within an archaic universe whose anthropologically-based values are cast as universal. The Phoenician Women turned out to be less convincing, since Binasco’s innovative choices, such as Eteocles’ ostentatious violence, the chorus of female refugees speaking with an Eastern European accent, and Oedipus’ disturbing presence on stage from the opening of the play, did not fulfil their dramaturgical potential coherently and homogeneously
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