Saturday, June 16, 2007

Hercules Goes Mad

Hercules went mad and murdered his own children and wife in Siracusa on Thursday night. This was the Greek play "Heracles" (aka Hercules) by Euripides, written in 421-416 B.C. and performed here in Sicily in 2007 in the Greek theater in the archaeological park in Siracusa. The theater itself is over two thousand years old, but still in remarkably good condition.

Why did he go mad and do this you might ask? We had the same question (and the script, in English), but it seems that Madness and Iris, along with their dancers, inflicted it upon Heracles. Just minutes before, he was the loving husband and father returned from Hades and wreaking revenge on his family's captor, Lycus, the unlawful King of Thebes.

Of course, Heracles was immediately inconsolably remorseful when he awoke afterwards. The last scene of the play was his making peace with his own father and going off with his friend Theseus, King of Athens, to try and live the rest of his life. The theme was stated simply by Hercules himself: "Whoso prefers wealth or might to the possession of good friends, thinketh amiss. " Good friends are most valuable! "

If you'd like to see the entire script, in English, go HERE.

Our little group of good friends had a great time eating granita and buying papyrus paintings beforehand and then enjoyed a great seafood dinner in Ortygia afterwards, not getting home till after midnight. We really enjoyed the staging, music, special effects (earthquake splits the background and breaks up the floor), the acting (Hercules' father was played by an eminent professor and actor), and the ambiance of the Greek theater. The wife of Hercules personified "drama." She was the original Italian mother, I decided. About the only thing we did not enjoy was the stone seats (hard in spite of cushions). Even the youngsters in our group were glad to get up and walk after an hour and a half of drama.

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At June 27, 2007 8:35 PM, Blogger Currier Quinn Balent said...

Hello Maryellen,

I found your blog link on Aja's page and always enjoy reading about your Sicilian experience. It's funny... I feel like I know you!


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