Premiere: January 14, 2013
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes, 1 intermission
Electra is the character of one of the most popular Greek myths about revenge and one of the protagonists of Greek tragedies. The daughter of King Agamemnon of Mycenae, she could not forgive her mother Clytemnestra for her father’s murder and together with Orestes, her brother, committed the act of vengeance. The first to tell the story of Electra was Aeschylus in his Oresteia trilogy. Later Electra became the title character in tragedies by Sophocles and Euripides, and one of the characters of Seneca's Agamemnon. The myth of Electra has inspired many writers of modern times, including the playwrights of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Eugene O'Neill, Jean Giraudoux, Jean-Paul Sartre and Gerhart Hauptmann.
Timofey Kulyabin’s production brings together ancient tragedy and the tradition of psychological theater, depriving myth of its schemes and straight-forward interpretation. Taking Euripides’s text, Kulyabin and his actors tell their own story. The director wants his characters to be live, tortured, suffering people. In his view Electra and Orestes, having committed a "fair" murder, cease to be heroes and become ordinary felons. The action revolves around the shock Euripides’s characters experience after having committed their unprecedented atrocity.
As Timofey Kulyabin says, “the play contains a paradox itself as the characters have a right to kill their mother; it is an absolutely justified, motivated and proven deed. But at the same time, Euripides adds the motive of personal responsibility for one’s actions, which in ancient tragedy are normally predetermined by the gods. In Euripides though, the presence of the gods is more formal, as well as the presence of the choir and the myth’s ‘scheme’, which loses its straight-forward interpretation and becomes multidimensional. Euripides reaches out to “psycologization” of his characters. After murdering their mother, Electra and Orestes ‘come down’ from their cothurni and cease to be heroes, turning into some banal killers. To put it in modern terms, a ‘reset’ of heroes takes place. "
"The Big Bang, the Higgs boson (" God particle "), the expanding Universe model, a black hole – all these concepts are explained in the program notes and are broadcast as an autocue – as a new knowledge about the world where there is no place for the Creator. The screen broadcasts quotes from Nobel Prize winners, from physicists to physiologists, as they all question the very idea of God’s existence. "
"The first act is deliberately ritualized: gestures are majestic, voices are calm and monotonous. The second one is fidgety and naturalistic. And it is this contrast that gives birth to the power of authenticity. "
"What is impossible to be justified from the modern morality point of view, is justified by the divine beauty of the sufferings of Elektra."
The Saint Petersburg Theatre Magazine