A music theatre installation by Robert Borgmann freely adapted from Aeschylusʼs «Eumenides»
After Orestes’s bloody revenge on his mother Clytemnestra for her murder of his father Agamemnon, he flees from the angry goddesses of vengeance. He seeks sanctuary in the temple of Apollo and appeals to the god for protection from the furies – but even Apollo is powerless against them, so Athena must decide Orestes’s fate. However, the goddess will not do so alone: a court of mortals who have sworn an oath to her will ultimately judge which murder weighs heavier: that of one’s mother or one’s husband.
In his «Oresteia», which is almost 2,500 years old, Aeschylus describes how society turned away from the barbarism of senseless revenge along kinship and tribal lines to a state governed by law and based on reason. This was the first decisive step that civilisation took towards a new social order that has influenced us to this day: democracy.
«The ‹Eumenides› begin at (in) a place, the temple, where the past is slowly decaying and the shadows of the dead fill visitors with fear and horror. And in the same place, lost and now sober after his frenzy, sits Orestes: the first modern human. Guilt and knowledge. Aware of these, he is locked in there with violence (the furies) and guilt (the shadow of his mother). At this constitutive point for modern consciousness (violence/guilt/knowledge) Athena appears and introduces democracy as a new system of governance – fully aware of how artificial and virtual this act is because no one is ready for it (I would claim: even now!)» Robert Borgmann
Following his intensely visual production of Shakespeare’s «Hamlet», Robert Borgmann explores the final part of Aeschylusʼs «Oresteia»: the «Eumenides» in a music theatre installation. «Athena» follows Sartre’s «The Flies» and Aeschylusʼs «Agamemnon» earlier this season to complete the Residenztheater’s reassessment of Aeschylusʼs ancient trilogy.