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Oresteia at Park Avenue Armory
Oresteia at Park Avenue Armory
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Oresteia at Park Avenue Armory

New York, NY
The classic Greek drama meets a modern setting.
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About Oresteia at Park Avenue Armory

Aeschylus’ greatest and final play is a searing familial saga that examines the sins of a family over several decades and explores whether justice can ever really be done. Robert Icke‘s Olivier Award-winning adaptation of this moral dilemma comes to the Armory for its North American premiere following sold-out runs at the Almeida Theatre and on London’s West End.

Icke radically reimagines this Greek drama for the modern stage, condensing the tragic trilogy into a single performance that electrifies and devastates in equal measure. Anastasia Hille (The Effect, The Master Builder) stars as the enthralling Klytemnestra. This daring update allows audiences to investigate the justification of vengeance, the possibility of finding justice in retaliation, and the role of judicial democracy at work—themes that continue to resonate nearly two and a half millennia after the play was written.

This production will play in repertory with HAMLET for the first time, allowing audiences to experience the throughlines and connections in these classic dramas—depicting two epic family sagas written over 2,000 years apart—performed by the same cast.

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See an ancient Greek tragedy like you've never seen it before. The Park Avenue Armory hosts Robert Icke's adaptation of Oresteia, now making its North American premiere. Get Oresteia tickets on TodayTix.

The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek plays by Aeschylus, and this Oresteia show, a contemporary adaptation, combines them into one event. Icke also makes it into a four-part show: A new first part shows King Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia in the Trojan War, which sets off the action of the original trilogy.

Park Avenue Armory Guide: Everything you need to know about the Upper East Side performance space

Aeschylus's part one is Agamemnon, in which the titular king's wife, Klytemnestra, plots his murder as revenge for sacrificing their daughter. Part two is The Libation Bearers, in which their son Orestes plots his mother's murder, continuing the cycle of anger and revenge. Part three is The Eumenides, which also has Orestes at the center. He's being attacked by the Furies for taking revenge into his own hands, and he gets put on trial to decide whether further acts of revenge should be taken upon oneself or settled in court.

Oresteia, and especially The Eumenides, has become historic for dramatizing how modern legal precedent was established. That theme holds up today, as do the themes of rightful justice amid vengeance and retaliation, making Icke's production ever-timely as he puts those themes to the forefront.

When Oresteia premiered in London in 2015, it received rave reviews, especially for how he put increased focus on Klytemnestra and the other female characters, who have been secondary to the male characters in past productions. The 2022 production of Oresteia in New York is playing in repertory with Hamlet at the Park Avenue Armory, and the same cast acts in both. The two productions are linked not just by their cast, but by their own common themes of revenge and family, and the crossover between them.

Tickets to Oresteia off Broadway are on TodayTix. Get Oresteia tickets now.

What to Watch For

  • Trilogies are having a moment this theatre season. Off Broadway, The Public Theater is premiering The Vagrant Trilogy, and on Broadway earlier this season was the premiere of The Lehman Trilogy (which also previously played at the Park Avenue Armory!). There's also the Broadway revival of The Skin of Our Teeth, a three-act play where a family survives a different apocalyptic disaster in each act.
  • Speaking of trilogies, Oresteia is the only ancient Greek trilogy we know of today. (We consider Sophocles's Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone a trilogy nowadays, too, but he didn't specifically write them that way — he wrote them out of order and years apart.)
  • In 458 BC, Oresteia won first place at the Dionysia festival, an annual celebration of the god Dionysus that centered around performances of plays. Think of the Edinburgh Fringe, but ancient Greek!
  • Oresteia is named for Orestes, the son of King Agamemnon and Queen Klytemnestra whose actions drive the second and third parts of the trilogy. The fate of the House of Atreus rests on his shoulders!
  • Oresteia is Robert Icke's winningest production. He took home the Olivier Award, Critics' Circle Theatre Award, and Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director for it.
Run time

Approx 3 hrs, 30 mins (incl. 2 intermissions)

Start date

July 8th, 2022

End date

August 13th, 2022

Genre

Play

Venue

Park Avenue Armory

Age

12+

Tickets

Tickets are not currently available. Set an alert and we'll tell you when more tickets go on sale.

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