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THE ORESTEA from Aeschylus
Four-year project 2018-2021

#1 NESTS and Agamemnon
#2 LATTE and The Coefore
#3 PUPIL and Le Eumenides

The tragedies that make up theOresteia of Aeschylus represent a single family story divided into three episodes, whose roots lie in the mythical tradition of ancient Greece: the murder of Agamemnon and his slave-lover Cassandra by his wife Clytemnestra (Agamemnon), the revenge of his son Orestes who, with the complicity of his sister Elettra, kills his mother (Le Coefeore), the persecution of the matricide by the Erinyes and his final acquittal by the Areopagus tribunal (Le Eumenides).

The scenic project directed by Maria Federica Maestri and Francesco Pititto consists of three creations: #1 Nests fromAgamemnon, #2 Latte, and The Choephores e #3 Pupil and Le Eumenides; the powerful sound translation of the trilogy is designed by Lillevan, one of the most significant artists on the international electronic music scene.

For a contemporary rereading of the origins of the tragic, the sensitive actresses and the historical actresses of the ensemble confront each other in an essential need for fusion and in a close scenic dialogue.

Implanting his own poetic signs on classical tragedy, the saga of the Atrides is confined to the aesthetic excess of the psychic pathology of the characters, taking the iconology of excess and violence as the object of scenic investigation. Forced into mechanical hereditary conjunctions, in forced genetic conjugations father, mother and children are determined by irreconcilable psycho-moral systems and inevitably destined to an irreducible chain of destructive consequences: Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia to obtain the power and benevolence of the gods; Clytemnestra kills her husband guilty of the murder of her daughter and together with him the innocent Cassandra; children – Orestes and Electra – to avenge the murder of their beloved father they kill their own mother.

The protagonists of the tragedy inhabit neo-mythological landscapes, places of moral coercion and emotional detention in which fears are materially stratified, horrors, passions that starve and devour the family corpus. L’òikos The stage inhabited by the Family is a space of sentimental awe and ethical dissonance, in which the opposition between honor and love, obedience and disobedience, subordination and superiority can only find resolution in a degenerative act. The mother was killed and the house destroyed, Orestes tries to escape punishment for his crime against nature and takes refuge in a transit place, anonymous and hostile, presided over by multiple figures of the mother. Lustful duplicates of Clytemnestra, the Erinyes amplify the traits of violence and the desire for revenge. Not even the soothing presence of the right deities, Athena and Apollo, can compensate for the damage, repair the evil, but celestial vertebrates can only turn pain and anger towards emotional dullness, towards an eternal saving sadness.

and Agamemnon of Aeschylus

In the first chapter of the trilogy the extreme state of feeling, the passion that moves and pushes towards death, the tragic killing of the hero, the mystery of the human condition takes shape in the oscillation between weakness and strength, vulnerability and power of Cassandra's psychic body, the foreign prophetess of doom, prey of war and slave in the house of the Atrides, refracted ray of Clytemnestra's poetic and violated physics.

The installation of the first chapter highlights a pedestal-nest that draws formal inspiration from the work of Mario Merz, in which the female characters of the tragedy – Clytemnestra and Cassandra – lay and hatch their eggs. The desecration of the nest triggers the tragic conflict between the forces, the irreparable act that marks his double death.

Interpreters of #1 Nests I'm Sandra Soncini, protagonist of Lenz's most important creations in the role of Clytemnestra, and Carlotta Spaggiari, sensitive actress, in the role of Cassandra, already extraordinary incarnation of Ermengarde inAdelchi and of Angelica in the cycle inspired byOrlando Furioso; together with them, in the function of Iphigenia and Chorus, Valentina Barbarini, Lenz icon and interpreter of Iphigenia in Aulis, first paragraph of the diptych inspired by the myth of Iphigenia.

and The Choephores of Aeschylus

Returned to his parents' house after his mother wanted him to leave – lived an orphaned childhood, humiliated and mocked – Orestes is convinced by his sister Electra to establish, in revolt against maternal power, an anti-authoritarian children's collective, intolerant, antagonist. The carrying out of extreme acts such as the destruction of the house and the killing of the mother, guilty of the assassination of the king and father Agamemnon, they transfigure the innocent child into a delirious and furious adult.

In Latte, the second episode taken from The Choephores, the scenic installation prepares – symmetrically to the nest/bed inhabited by the mother Clytemnestra – some ordinary and active elements of domestic physics: an artificially nutritious table – flooded by the black milk of hatred inspired by Death fugue by Paul Celan and the liquid vortices of Anish Kapoor – and the lair/cradle in which Orestes will hide to escape the fury of the Erinyes.

Interpreters of #2 Latte I'm Barbara Voghera, in the role of Orestes, sensitive actress already interpreter of Hamlet and the major creations of Lenz and Sandra Soncini, in the role of Clytemnestra; together with them Lara Bonvini in the role of sister Elettra and Valentina Barbarini as Ifigenia and Chorus.

and Le Eumenides of Aeschylus

In the final episode of the trilogy, the persecution of the matricidal Orestes by the Erinyes takes place and his final acquittal by the Areopagus tribunal. The protagonists of the last act are the divinities: Orestes, Clytemnestra's Shadow, Athens, Apollo and the Erinyes. In Pupil, the third episode taken from Le Eumenides, the scenic installation prepares, after the destruction of the house by Orestes, a non-domestic space functionally referable to the waiting room of a public service; in this anonymous place, sanitized by the emotional violence that tragically transfigured them, the family members hope to rectify their identity and reclaim a new destiny.

Interpreters of #3 Pupil I'm Barbara Voghera in the role of Orestes, Sandra Soncini for Clytemnestra's Shadow, Monica Barone – already interpreter of Iphigenia in Tauride of Goethe and Gluck – in the role of Athena, Carlotta Spaggiari in the role of Apollo, Valentina Barbarini and Lara Bonvini as Chorus and Erinni.


Notes by Maria Federica Maestri

We have not been 'devoured' artistically by the weight of the tragic chronicles of pain and death that have been delivered to us daily for many months now. There are no direct traces of it in the scenic figurations that have found fulfillment in this pandemic war period, because theater is by its nature a tragic art, work of mourning and catharsis, place of metamorphosis of evil/disease - which in the tremendous initial flash ofOedipus coincides with individual evil – in heroic experience of loss. During the rehearsals of the last chapter of theOresteiaPupil – this was taken into account in formal terms: he definitely interfered in the way of performing of the six actresses of the ensemble, that they couldn't touch each other and that, to work safely, they had to remain forcibly distanced. It was about transferring their artistic suffering, their physical weakening, in conceptual enhancement, I tried to guide them in search of an anti-rhetorical body, more sensitive to the inner impulse, capable of enhancing one's emotional field in a new grammar of retention. The stage installation, has undergone a strong formal change, it became 'ionized', emptied of material solids, has acquired a higher energy charge, it became more vibrant, activated by a new virtual sign live.


Notes by Francesco Pititto

Iphigenia in Aulis, Iphigenia in Tauride, #Nests per Agamemnon, #Latte per Coefore, #Pupil per Eumenides, the saga of the Atrides, the authority and decisive power of the gods, the Polis draw testifies to the stalemate. Erinni by Eumenides, Eumenides through the Erinyes, theater cannot save the world and what remains today is the ferocity on which the world was formed. Perhaps the war has stopped? The progressive destruction of the planet? Not even in an idyllic dream, and perhaps only in nightmares can he resurrect the bestial origin that lives inside every human being, man and woman, single and in groups, and particularly in the clan, in the family. And here we must return, the world confined within the home is, as always, the theater of discovered human feelings and behaviors, true and direct, for better or for worse. The power, affection, the love, hatred, revenge seem to remain intact within the hereditary nucleus, partly refractory to what happens outside; even if strictly linked to the given order, to the democratic norm of participation, rights and duties yes but first those from within, there the citizen is first a child, madre, padre, Uncle, grandfather and so on. The son is always the most beautiful, the most intelligent, I could die for my son, my nephew, my sister... From this simple course of things we can investigate the meaning of the quote, on the appropriateness of interpretation, of rewriting, of the staging of this trilogy. I am thinking of a representation of the mathematical arrangement of the fundamental dramatic figures, before any contemporary reading, imprinted in a framework of truth and, paradoxically, of anti-mathematical representation. Thus the rewritten text becomes a tragic crossword, a complex puzzle of emotions and disastrous actions. Since there are no longer deities to regulate the roles, the chessboard, the fundamental element of madness is missing, of irrational fury, of the Dionysian caprice, of titanic strength. Here then are some new protagonists, tragic figures of contemporary times, they intervene like Amazons to bring back the hubris necessary for humans to rebel again. By modifying the pattern induced by the work, these tragic atoms can deviate the direction of their fall, the pattern of the dramaturgy can be temporarily lost, to then return and proceed the action in the labyrinth of the scene. There can be no tragic representation without the presence of these protagonists, those we love to call "sensitive actors", equipped with that unlimited expressive power that allows them to tell the truth, even the crudest. They have a timeless breath, anti-academic and anti-experimental vocality, echo of an elsewhere of thought, natural posture without affectation, functional gestures. The Cassandra, and then Athena, by Carlotta Spaggiari they bring darkness, animality and reason, Barbara Voghera's Orestes is in an infant's body with an already old voice and already dressed in bloody experiences, Monica Barone's Athena lives with her daily ceremonial and is an oracle of voiceless life, and then the broken Iphigenia of Valentina Barbarini who was a deer in Aulis and then with Monica, a mute priestess in Tauris, between tragedy and romance; Sandra Soncini's Clytemnestra, first a mother and then a murderer, Lara Bonvini's Electra, sister and accomplice of Orestes: here is the Family mirror of human nature, and it is in particular the figure of the woman – madre, sister, Daughter -, than like a black hole of love and hate, it attracts and drags every tragic passage into the bottomless. And all together also Coro, living choir, participant like the one wanted by Aeschylus, not only an observing party. We have excluded the image, as in the first two episodes I did not accompany the rewriting of the text with a parallel imagoturgy. We did not feel the need to add virtual figures to the antimatter brought by the actresses, real-world epiphanies: they already were, in addition to the bodies, true image, sincere, material. Instead, during construction, together with Lillevan – composer of the music for the entire Trilogy – we had created a video installation with live performance, Oresteia Concerto, at the Farnese Theater in Parma. A concert of sounds and images, a putting into sound of imagoturgy, absent from the theatrical ritual, but immanent to the theatrical action.

Dramaturgy and rewriting | Francesco Pititto
Installation, regia, costumes | Maria Federica Masters
Musica | Lillevan
Treatment | Elena Sorbi
Organization | Ilaria Stocchi
Press office, communication, promotion | Michele Pascarella
Technical care | Alice Scartapacchio, Lucia Manghi
Assistant | Marco Cavellini
Production | Lenz Foundation

and Agamemnon of Aeschylus
Interpreters | Valentina Barbarini, Sandra Soncini, Carlotta Spaggiari
duration | 55’

and The Choephores of Aeschylus
Interpreters | Valentina Barbarini, Lara Bonvini, Sandra Soncini, Barbara Voghera
duration | 50’

and Le Eumenides of Aeschylus
Interpreters | Valentina Barbarini, Monica Barone, Lara Bonvini, Sandra Soncini, Carlotta Spaggiari, Barbara Voghera
duration | 45’

whole wheat:

There is no fire lit above, on the walls of Argos, to announce the fall of Troy, at the beginning ofOresteia that Federica Maestri and Francesco Pititto presented at the conclusion of a dense edition, all female, of the Natura Dèi Teatri festival. After all, there aren't even the walls of Argos. It is a purely mental landscape that designed for the tragedy by the two creators of Lenz. (more)

Gianni Manzella, the poster

It's a layering of images, for apical moments and for long wanderings in the fabric of tragedy, of which fragments remain, cores extracted and partly rewritten. Details that are captured and amplified to the point of grotesqueness, together alienating. (more)
Franco Acquaviva, Curtain
Also of great visual and physical strength is the sequence where on a domestic table - a place of nourishment of life and death - artificial milk is composed and poured which, manipulated, from white it will become black, dirtying faces and hands and the space around them. The agìta scenic installation is inspired by Death fugue by Tedesco poet Paul Celan […] and the liquid vortices of the English artist Anish Kapoor. (more)
Giuseppe Distefano, Exibart
Direction and dramaturgy as usual merge with wisdom and within this refined aesthetic mechanism, the protagonists find the signs of a path of awareness, a new awareness that they give us with spontaneity and also authenticity. (more)
Maria Dolores Pesce,


No doubt about the semi-divine essence of the characters on stage, who move with feral royalty alternating uncontrollable hysteria, sudden aphasias and cadenced sequences of liturgical gestures that involve the spectator in a primary theatrical experience in which even catharsis seems to be a further sinking into the contradictions of an impossible dystopian ethics. (more)

Emanuela Zanon, Juliet Art Magazine

In technical terms, Nests embodies the ancient concept of miasma on stage […] each tragic painting always generates new and different horrors, this time without an apparent form of salvation […] Clytemnestra and Cassandra are both shown lying on the bed, in the pose of a woman giving birth and indeed in the throes of childbirth, which however will only lead to the killing of the prophetess and Agamemnon. This is the point where the miasma reaches its peak: even in the sacred act of birth, Indeed, what arises is only new death and not innocent life. (more)

Enrico Piergiacomi, University of Trento

A work of boundless richness on an interpretative level, many symbols, the visual passages and dance theater actions are particularly effective.

Valeria Ottolenghi, Journal of Parma

The work done by the Lenz Foundation on Aeschylus' Oresteia casts its sound into the essence of the Tragic and unravels the magmatic tangle of passions, violence, crime and catharsis. (more)

Caterina Barone, Rumor(s)cena



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