Sunday, October 05, 2014

Electra and Forgiveness

Cast (minus Orsestes - not sure why)
To Old Vic on Friday with Daughter to see Electra in a new version by Frank McCourt. Kristin Scott-Thomas was Electra with Diana Quick and Clytemnestra, and Jack Lowden as Orsestes.

It's a very moving play (which I haven't seen before) and well acted with a good ensemble. My only concern is that in many places it is played for laughs and this rather seriously damages the cumulative effect. Probably people felt that without an interval you could not sustain the dramatic tension without plenty of relieving moments. Maybe this is right for a modern audience. But it is amazing to connect with something written over 2,400 years ago in such a deep and compelling way.

The whole concept of cycles of revenge and death is sadly very topical now with the continuing awful situations in the Middle East and places like Nigeria and South Sudan. Plainly the only way to resolve such situations is through reconciliation and forgiveness but this is much harder to achieve in the absence of a strong religious imperative to forgive.

We tend to think of this as mainly Christian but Islam also has an important strand of forgiveness. And it is a shameful fact that both sides in the appalling situation in South Sudan claim to be Christian.

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