Epidaurus Festival 2024 - Opening with "Iphigenia in Aulis"

Ιφιγένεια εν Αυλίδι, Sacrifice of Iphigenia

The Epidaurus Festival 2024 at the famous ancient theater, starts this summer with "Iphigenia in Aulis" by Euripides, under the directorial vision of the pioneering Timofey Kulyabin. This play is a worldwide premiere, featuring a brilliant cast of Greek actors, opening this year's Epidaurus Festival on July 5th and 6th 2024.

After the masterful "Three Sisters" (2018), which will remain unforgettable due to the performance of Anton Chekhov's play entirely played in sign language, the pioneering Russian director Timofey Kulyabin returns to the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which introduced him to the Greek audience. Internationally recognized for his poetic directorial perspective, Kulyabin will open this year's Epidaurus Festival on July 5th and 6th 2024, with Euripides' "Iphigenia in Aulis," in an international production by the Festival. Distinguished Greek actors and actresses make up the cast, breathing life into this exceptional artistic endeavor.

Referring to his choice to tackle Euripides' "Iphigenia in Aulis," Kulyabin says: "When the proposal to direct at Epidaurus came to me, I didn't hesitate. Iphigenia is one of the most complex and simultaneously captivating texts of ancient drama. The central theme of the play is war. We don't see battles, but we feel the scent of the impending war. Everything is ready: the troops, the weapons. It only takes a little push to set it in motion. It is interesting to see how this translates into today. In the play, the question is not whether there will be war but when. For me, it all has to do with the technologies of war, politics, media... Unfortunately, today war is once again present in our lives. Paradoxically, and despite historical experience, we humans do things that we thought would never happen again".

As the playwright Roman Dolzhanskiy explains, the performance will focus on the theme of war, as also in the sacrifice: "In 'Iphigenia in Aulis', an unimaginable sacrifice must be made to initiate war. Simultaneously, there is a family story behind this sacrifice. And a family betrayal. A betrayal, that vividly demonstrates how war is capable of destroying every human behavior, every value. The ancient tragedy highlights here how 'unnatural' sacrifice, not accommodated by the human mind, can be imposed so 'naturally.'"

"Iphigenia in Aulis" will have its world premiere at Epidaurus. Exclusively designed for the famous Argolic theater, this highly anticipated performance creatively brings together, once again, a foreign director with the Greek stage, further enhancing the international character of the Festival and the spirit of outwardness consciously pursued in recent years.

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Anthi Efstratiadou -Iphigenia, Maria Nafpliotou -Clytemnestra, Nikolas Papagiannis -Menelaus, Dimitris Papanikolaou -Priest, Thanos Tokakis -Achilles, Nikos Psarras -Agamemnon.

Dimitris Georgiadis, Christos Diamantoudis, Marios Kritikopoulos, Alexandros Piechoviak

Timofey Kulyabin, Τιμοφέι Κουλιάμπιν

Timofey Kulyabin
One of the most distinguished Russian directors of his generation, born in 1984, Kulyabin attended the renowned Gitis Theatre Academy in Moscow. He represents a unique presence in contemporary global theater, having successfully directed dozens of theatrical performances and operas.
He made his debut as a professional director at the young age of 22 in 2006, and since then, he has staged productions in Russian and European theaters, including the Bolshoi Theatre and the National Theatre of Moscow, the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, the Schauspielhaus in Zurich, the Residenztheater in Munich, among others.
Artistic director of the Red Torch Theatre in Novosibirsk from 2015 to 2022, he has distinguished himself for his radical approach to classical playwrights such as Chekhov, Ibsen, and Gogol. His productions are regularly invited to international theatre festivals, and with "Three Sisters," he received the Golden Mask, the National Theatre Award of Russia.
Bold and groundbreaking in art and life, he did not hesitate to publicly express his opposition to the war in Ukraine and seek refuge in Europe, specifically in Berlin. Kulyabin has been characterized as the "terrible child" of Russian theatre. His directorial brilliance lies in his scenic boldness and the way he playfully engages with different theatrical genres. 

Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of July 2024, at 21:00

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Did you know that?
"Iphigenia in Aulis" (or Iphigenia at Aulis -in Latin Iphigenia in Aulide) is the last of the extant works by the Greek playwright Euripides. Written between 408 (after "Orestes") and 406 BC, the year of Euripides' death by his son or nephew, the play was first produced the following year in a trilogy with The Bacchae and Alcmaeon in Corinth and won first place at the City Dionysia in Athens. Set prior to the commencement of the Trojan War, "Iphigenia in Aulis" revolves around the strong resistance by Clytemnestra to the decision of her husband Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek coalition before and during the Trojan War, to ritually sacrifice and kill his daughter Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis. This would allow his troops to set sail to preserve their honor, in order to battle and ultimately sack Troy, actions which would result in the killing of all of Troy's men and the enslavement of all of its women by Agamemnon and the Greek men (Wikipedia).
Timofey Kulyabin returns for the second time to the Athens and Epidaurus Festival after his appearance in 2018 when he presented Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters" in sign language, a performance that received rave reviews.
The famous ancient Τheater of Epidaurus is located within the archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Asklepios, in the Argolis prefecture of Peloponnese. It is a half-hour drive from Nafplio and approximately two hours from Athens.

Timofey Kulyabin, Τιμοφέι Κουλιάμπιν

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