The Oresteiaby Aeschylus
In the Oresteia -- the only trilogy in Greek drama that survives from antiquity -- Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos. As they move from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, their spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration.
Peter Meineck's new rendition of the Oresteia is that rare and wonderful thing: a text accessible to the Greekless audience while still preserving the vocabulary of Aeschylus. Those of us who have seen Peter Meineck's performances have long marveled at his ability to turn Greek into clear English, how he does not do 'versions' of the plays, how he does not rewrite the ancients into modern jargon (even his comedies maintain more Aristophanic text than is usual). Here lines that students have always needed explicated stand clear. . . . Helene Foley has provided a fine introduction for this translation. Introduction and translation together provide an exciting text, one that should be widely read, widely used. --Karelisa Hartigan, University of Florida, in The Classical Outlook
. . . a translation for the stage by an experienced man of the theater. Its virtues are very real, and, though Meineck makes them seem easy, very hard to achieve. The idiom is contemporary without yielding to the siren song of gimmicky updating; it manages to be clear without betraying Aeschylus’ complexity or sacrificing his intricate imagery. What makes it effective on stage makes it work on the page, too. With the added guidance of Helene Foley's characteristically intelligent Introduction and Meineck's own crisp annotation and full stage directions, this translation offers the most approachable and in many ways most communicative Oresteia now available. It will be the Oresteia of choice for many teachers and their students, as well as for readers interested in what makes Greek tragedy great theater. --Peter Burian, Duke University
Rory Mullarkey's adaptation of these three Aeschylus plays . . . is undertaken with a spirit it would be hard to trump. . . . Mullarkey has adapted Aeschylus in a way that never fudges, conceals or distances.
Witty, brash and steeped in blood . . . this is a big and boisterous account packed with sly wit and the sort of brash lines that wouldn't be out of place in a gangster film.
brilliantly evokes the sheer strangeness and horror of the play. Rory Mullarkey's translation follows the Aeschylean original faithfully and his lyrics make some attempts to evoke the percussive muscularity of the choruses. . . . I haven't seen anything quite as sickening or as stately as this version of these plays.
Meet the Author
Peter Meineck is Clinical Associate Professor of Classics, New York University, and Artistic Director of the Aquila Theatre Company.
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