08 June 2022, The Tablet

A chorus of powerful female voices

A chorus of powerful female voices

David Walmsley and Eileen Walsh as Agamemnon and Clytemnestra
Photo: Peter Searle


Girl on an Altar
Kiln theatre, London

As this column has reflected in recent months, there are often now more Greek tragedies being performed in London than would have been the case in ancient Athens. They range from modernisations of the plots – such as their relocation to Nottinghamshire in Beth Steel’s House of Shades, currently running at the Almeida Theatre – to more faithful adaptations, such as Girl on an Altar, Marina Carr’s version of the legend of Clytemnestra, as told in Agamemnon, the first play in Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, and also in versions by Euripides and Aeschylus.

This Greek reclassification of contemporary English language theatre clearly results from a sense that the concerns of the fathers of drama – long wars and blood feuds, the dynamics of revenge and forgiveness – are ever more relevant to our times, especially in some places, such as Ireland, which heavily inflects Girl on an Altar.


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