Euripides’s war-torn Hecuba resonates

Susannah Clapp in The Observor:

Redgrave_1  Bringing the ancient Greeks closer to us is probably the only cultural achievement of the war in Iraq. The translation of the play’s action into the 21st century is more or less seamless: the chorus of lamenting women could be the background to the report of an atrocity; the cycle of revenge, with its bloody display of children’s bodies, now looks almost routine.

The case is clear and there’s no need for Harrison’s translation – fleshy, forthright, always robust, but sometimes overdone – to thump down every modern parallel. A few nods in the direction of the here and now work well: triumphant Greeks swagger about the coalition’s plans; there’s a lament about the price paid for democracy. These signals would have been enough. Darrell D’Silva’s otherwise powerful Odysseus takes things too far with his intermittent George Dubya accent.

And there is Vanessa Redgrave. You see the outlines of what she can do here and the uniqueness of what she does.

More here.

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