HIPPOLYTUS, based on Euripides
Induo Teatro Producciones, Spain
Sunday 19 July│Paphos Ancient Odeon
Tuesday 21 July│“Skali” Amphitheatre, Aglantzia
The Induo Teatro Producciones, after the successful presentation of the flamenco Medea in 2013, returns to Cyprus to present Hippolytus, directed by the award winning Jose Manuel Sánchez “Andreu”. In Hippolytus, one of the most contemporary theatre plays of universal dramaturgy, Euripides sets up a masterful trap, escalated into tragic, where gods play a key role, leading humans in a disastrous conspiracy of silence, in unavoidable error, in punishment but also in forgiveness. The director aims to recompose the first tragedy written by Euripides, Hippolytus-covered-up, based on the surviving Hippolytus Bearer of the Garland and other texts of ancient literature and presents a testimony of the dilemma between passion and logic.
▪ The performances will be surtitled in English and Greek
Handsome Hippolytus, son of Theseus and the Amazon queen Hippolyta, disdains the goddess of love, Aphrodite, while he honors the goddess of virginity, Artemis. Aphrodite feels insulted and designs to punish him by sowing in the heart of Phaedra, wife of Theseus, a mad love for her maidenly stepson, Hippolytus. Hippolytus’ rage against her brings despair in the heart of Phaedra, who plans to avenge him, by unjustly accusing him of rape. Theseus without a second thought curses his son. A sea monster, sent by goddess Aphrodite, attacks Hippolytus and a messenger brings the bad news to Theseus. Hippolytus’ friends carry him covered in blood and with his last breathe he farewells his father. Phaedra feels deep regret, confesses the truth and kills herself.
Hippolytus Bearer of the Garland, first performed in 428 BC, during the Great Dionysia, won the first prize. According to the information of the ancient grammars, Euripides, in 432 BC, had also presented a tragedy on the myth of Hippolytus titled Hippolytus-covered-up. From the first Euripides’ tragedy survived only 50 verses in 19 quotes. Based on these verses Induo Teatro Producciones’ production aims to recompose the first tragedy written by Euripides, Hippolytus-covered-up, using as reference point the surviving Hippolytus Bearer of the Garland, but also Phaedra by Seneca and Epistulae Heroidum, Phaedra to Hippolytus by Ovid, adapted by the director Jose Manuel Sánchez “Andreu”.
Euripides sets up a masterful trap, escalated into tragic, where gods play a key role, leading humans in a disastrous conspiracy of silence, in unavoidable error, in punishment but also in forgiveness. No other work except Hippolytus shows so clearly the verbal form of confrontation and conflict – the speech acts that characterize the ancient Greek tragedy as a kind of theatre.
Maybe the love story of Phaedra and her stepson Hippolytus is one of the most contemporary plays in theatre history worldwide because its words and the totality of their meanings leave no doubt and make it timelessly alive throughout the centuries and in all its versions on stage. This lies also in the feeling that weaves the play, the human feeling, Love, with its sole ability to trigger desire or enmity, irrational carnal obsession or that dose of courage that exists in the unconscious and drives human beings to transcend the limits of moral ethical mind.
This version of Hippolytus tries to rescue from the ashes of time and forgetfulness that first tragedy, under the same title, written by Euripides (Ἱππόλυτος καλυπτόμενος), which was withdrawn forever due to the prevailing morality in Athens in the V century B.C. and was recast in the only version that has survived till the present day (Ἱππόλυτος στεφανηφόρος).
Through the few surviving fragments of that first composition, as well as the scene that was recovered by Seneca (Phaedra) and Ovid (Epistulae Heroidum) in which Phaedra herself confesses her love to Hippolytus, something that Aristophanes named indecent (Βάτραχοι, 1043), INDUO TEATRO has undertaken the task to reconstruct Hippolytus, as a testimony of what was the true composition by Euripides, when the dilemma between passion and reason was manifested, and continues revived in another of his great creations: Medea.
Jose Manuel Sánchez “Andreu”