Iphigenia in Aulis

A couple of days ago I saw this play by Euripides – his last. The concept of the director is to have the 6 actors sit in a row, facing the audience. The Greek choir is now transformed to BIG letters projected on the black wall behind the actors. It is cut  to the bone, clear and wonderful. I am sitting in the 4th row, Iphigenia is sitting right across me, and when she speaks, she looks at me. Yes.

This is play where a father – the king Agamemnon – is willing to sacrifice his beloved daughter – in short, slaughter her with a sword( the word slaughter is used) in order that the Goddess Artemis, Zeus’ daughter, will look upon Agamemnon’s fleet with good will and help them win the war against Troy.

At the end, Iphigenia accepts willingly her role.

We are not witness to the slaughter – but the old truth-sayer enters the stage and tells about a miracle: there was no Iphigenia’s body on the slaughter-stone, but a white stag.

She did not die a victim – she accepted her fate and her script.

It feels like we have watched the story of the ego-God – and I have witnessed how Iphigenia met her fate with calm and equanimity. And I think she does that in the moment she refuses to be “slaughtered”.

When she leaves the stage for the last time – to be sacrificed – the connection between us is broken. I feel deeply grateful for an outstanding performance, and to be able to see somebody who has NOT embraced the victim-role.

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Please note that nothing written here is intended as medical advice. Readers who think that they need help with a physical or psychological condition are advised to seek a qualified opinion.

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