Sydney Festival and Belvoir are bringing a present-day renovation of Seneca’s revenge play Thyestes to Carriageworks.
With its striking design and award winning performance, Thyestes intersects Seneca’s Greco-Roman tale with contemporary domestic scenes in order to explore our ancient urges toward both love and destruction.
Seneca the Younger’s Thyestes follows the story of two brothers, one a deposed king who begins an affair with his brother’s wife and whose sons are consequently slaughtered and served to him at a banquet. Taking its cue from the banquet, this modern version expands the story to include Atreus’ and Thyestes’ murder of their illegitimate brother, Thyestes decline into madness and the destruction and ultimate demise of the brother Atreus.
It’s not all so dark and depressing though. Resident director at Belvoir, Simon Stone states that “the reason it feels so tragic is because so much of it is so delightful and enjoyable and touching”. He describes these stories as “timeless … they’re essentially about family” and family has always been the central drama of a great story.
“Thyestes is the worst-case scenario of the family drama” says Stone, “when all those jealousies and suspicions and betrayals stemming from family co-existence don’t get worked through and resolved and matured out of”.
Most infamous, ferocious and bloody of all the Greeks; Thyestes is a very real and modern journey through this dark legend. Simon Stone, Mark Winter, Chris Ryan and Thomas Henning present us with three stunning, comedic and chilling performances organized into a ninety minute epic not to be missed.
Watch the YouTube sneak peek Thyestes
Belvoir interview with director Simon Stone
Review of Thyestes Chris Hook, Daily Telegraph 24/1/12
Rated M for messed up Elyssa Blake, SMH 22/1/12
Grim twists in this tale of the unexpected Jason Blake, SMH 21/1/12
Thyestes Darryn King, Time Out Sydney 20/1/12 [five stars]
Thyestes – Simon Stones Therapeutic Tragedy in the Brag 16/01/2012
Stone’s hit and myth in The Age 14/09/2010
Making a meal of a family squabble in the Daily Telegraph 12/01/2012
An ego trip that pushes boundaries in Sydney Morning Herald 5/01/2012
Fringe: The Hayloft Project- Thyestes in Laneway Magazine 20/9/2010
Ancient tale of darkness given new resonance in the Australian 20/9/2010
Brad Syke, Crikey