The Furies, 2018.

Reharsal reading , 15 min.

Carianne Dunford
Hermione Wiltshire
Jacqui Lofthouse

The Furies from Dafne Salis on Vimeo.

In Aeschylus’ Oresteia Orestes is convinced by god Apollo to kill his mother Clytemnestra. The murder is committed to revenge Orestes’ father, Agamemnon, who was assassinated by Clytemnestra, his wife, who was, in turn, revenging her daughter, killed by Agamemnon. Orestes faces two possible approaches on how his crime can be examined: personal retaliation, which would demand his execution, or an organized court, where thirteen judges, all male except the goddess Athena, are asked to evaluate matricide’s implications and to decide Orestes’ destiny. Within the trial, Apollo defends Orestes, while Clytemnestra is sustained by the Furies. At the end of dispute, judges’ votes are tied. Athena’s vote will be decisive in releasing Orestes. The reason being, she was born from her father. In the myth, Zeus gives birth to Athena from his head. It derives that no mother has parental blood links with her children. Thus given, reasons for personal revenge are less pressing and Clytemnestra is increasingly guiltier. Orestes’ crime is clear from blood relations: killing the mother is not so blameworthy, especially if one does it to celebrate the father. Indirectly, Clytemnestra loses her right to revenge her daughter, since Agamemnon is the only one who oversaw her life. In addition, deals and agreements increase power over blood ties, thus making to break the spousal agreement - by killing the husband - guiltier than killing a daughter. At the end, the mother is plundered of her function of nursing and caring. She is despoiled of any parental capability. Orestes is released. From now on, there will be organized trials and no more retaliations. This text is vastly individuated as the first trial in western history, the setting stone of democracy. Can a democracy exist while not in denial with the maternal role and with children’s education and spring? What price society must pay to live in a – patriarchal- democracy?

The reharsal reading aims at questioning Aeschilus text by editing it, giving voice to an invented characted who can stand against Apollo and by exchanging lines amongst characters. Editing, and charachters are visualized throught actors’ actions and cards. The actresses are all mothers.

1     The Furies, 2018.

Questa performance, prova di lettura dell’Orestea di Eschilo ri-edita vuole contrastare il testo classico nella sua dismissione della figura materna. La tragedia di Eschilo sembrerebbe suggerire che,  per uscire dal contesto della vendetta illimitata ed entrare in un regime di giustizia sociale, bisogna far valere meno i legami di sangue e dare più peso ai legami contrattuali, liberamente ed esplicitamente intrapresi dagli uomini. Un tribunale è invitato a deliberare su un caso di matricidio molto controverso. Per scagionare l’omicida, Eschilo toglie peso, a più livelli nel testo, alla madre e al materno.

Il testo ri-edito questiona le scelte dell’autore; i cambiamenti apportati sottolineano le forzature che l’autore ha dovuto compiere per diminuire l’importanza della madre.

I cambiamenti del testo sono resi evidenti nella lettura attraverso i gesti delle lettrici, tutte madri nella loro vita reale.