Every Greek who came to see Elektra in 425 BC would have been familiar with the story of Elektra and her ill-fated family. In fact, the myth was so compelling that all three of the great Greek tragedians – Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides - wrote their own version of the tale. The play that you are seeing tonight was part of a trilogy, as all tragedies were, but this is the only section of the Sophocles version that survives. (Fun fact: Aeschylus’ take on Agamemnon and his children, The Orestia, is the only complete three-part tragedy in existence.) So, as we can’t present the other two parts, and you’re probably not as familiar with the tale as an ancient Athenian would have been, here’s what has happened before this version of Elektra begins:
King Agamemnon of Argos fought a war at Troy to recover Helen, his brother’s wife, who had been stolen by Paris, a prince of Troy. To secure favorable winds, he sacrificed his youngest daughter, Iphigenia. While he was away at Troy, his queen, Clytemnestra, took a lover, Aegisthus, and together they plotted to kill Agamemnon on his return in revenge for killing Iphigenia. When he arrived back to his palace after the war, Clytemnestra lured him into the bath, where she and Aegisthus murdered him with an axe. Elektra was witness to the horror, and, worried for her young brother’s safety, quickly gave Orestes to a family tutor who was instructed to take him to friends in far-away Phocis where he would be out of harm’s way. Years pass, and Elektra is still grieving her father’s murder. Due to her “immoderate grief” and her refusal to accept Aegisthus as the King, Elektra has become a servant in her own home. The play begins with Elektra singing lamentations for her father Agamemnon.
Our students have done a tremendous job exploring and creating this powerful story. Please come and support them (or tune in!) Thursday October 31 - Nov 2. All performances begin at 7:00 and run approximately 80 minutes. See you at the show! Stefanie Plumley, Director