92nd Street Y presents the world premiere of poet Anne Carson's new translation of Euripides' Orestes, directed as a staged reading by David Esbjornson.
Orestes, written by Euripides circa 408 B.C.E., explores the aftermath of a man's decision to commit matricide for what he sees as a just cause. Although advised by the Greek god Apollo to kill his mother to avenge her murder of his father, Orestes is plagued by guilt and a growing madness. His sister Electra tries to comfort him, but matters are complicated by the fact that a leading political faction wants to execute Orestes for the murder. Orestes' only hope lies with his uncle Menelaus, who is married to the infamous Helen of Troy. Menelaus, who is hated by the Greeks because of his wife's role in the Trojan War, refuses to help Orestes. To exact revenge for this betrayal, Orestes and his friends conspire to kill Helen but are persuaded to reconsider after one of her slaves inspires their compassion. On the verge of a fight between Orestes and Menelaus, Apollo descends from the heavens, pardoning Orestes for his mother's death and making everything right again.