21 November, 2003
Mario Frangoulis, who will probably play Achilles, as Pentheus in a scene from Euripides’ ‘Bacchae.’
VASSILIS ANGELIKOPOULOS - Kathimerini
So far, certain missing tragedies have been restored on the basis of extracts that have survived; such is the case with Euripides’ “Rhesus” and “Hypsipyla.” Is it, however, possible to restore an entire trilogy by Aeschylus?
According to Cyprus’s National Theater Company (THOC), it is. THOC’s director Andis Partzilis confirmed the piece of information that Reuters had announced, namely that the company is planning to perform the trilogy next summer. Partzilis said that the trilogy will be called “Achilleis” and will refer to the events of the Trojan War, with Achilles as the leading character. Partzilis told Kathimerini that experienced director Nikos Haralambous will direct the performance and that it is highly likely that the part of Achilles will be played by Mario Frangoulis.
“Achilleis” is the production that THOC has proposed to perform at the 2004 Epidaurus Ancient Drama Festival. Theater expert Ilias Malandris has undertaken the trilogy’s restoration: According to Reuters, he has been working on it for a decade, using ancient texts, like extracts from Homer’s “Iliad” and references to Achilles found in other ancient Greek works. “We know the trilogy existed, because ancient Greek authors, Aristophanes among them, mention it,” said Partzilis. “German classicist Bruno Snell, who died around 1970, had worked on its restoration and Malandris took his work into account. We believe that Malandris’s restoration is fairly accurate for the largest part of the trilogy, but of course no one can verify that this is the case for the entire text.”
Extracts from Aeschylus’ “Achilleis” were found during the past decades in Egypt, on papyri that had been used for mummifying the dead, as has also been the case with works by other ancient poets.
These papyri as well as references to the trilogy by other ancient authors, make THOC believe that this restoration is as accurate as a restoration could be to Aeschylus’ original text.
“We are lucky in that papyri were considered good mummifying material,” said Partzilis.