Euripides is upset after finding out that women are bent on punishing him for his unflattering portrayal of female characters. Seeing as they are about to celebrate the Thesmophoria, a festival attended exclusively by women, Euripides comes up with a plan: he decides to have a friend of his infiltrate the festival, disguised as a woman, and vindicate him. Mnesilochus is up to the task. At the festival, the women of Thesmophoria, the Thesmophoriazusae – also serving as the chorus – accuse Euripides. Mnesilochus takes the floor and joins the accusers, before trying to support Euripides, arguing that women are responsible for far worse than what they have been depicted doing in Euripides’ tragedies. Just as the chorus begins to lose patience with him, Cleisthenes, a well-known, notoriously effeminate Athenian of the time, shows up. He announces that a man, dressed in women’s clothes, is rumoured to be among them. Mnesilochus is unmasked and accused of violating the sacred vows. He tries to warn Euripides that they have been exposed. In his attempt to rescue Mnesilochus, Euripides shows up several times at the Thesmophoria, each time in a different disguise, making a proposition: if they set Mnesilochus free, he will stop disparaging women in his plays. The women accept and the two men are free to go. The comedy ends with the cheering Chorus.
Thesmophoriazusae, one of Aristophanes’ three “women” plays, was written in 411 B.C., at a time when Democracy was overthrown and replaced by Oligarchy. In this play, women call for political stability. Nowadays, women are no longer in the same difficult position. They are no longer restricted to imagining a political future without having the right to participate in the Polis. However, there are still plenty of minorities with no access to the workings of the Polis. A play about gender, the quest of personal identity, the right to equal civil rights, the crisis in values, law and nature. Above all, a play bursting with humour and theatricality, enabling actors to be fully present on stage as political entities.
Translation: Pantelis Boukalas
Direction: Vangelis Theodoropoulos
Music: Nikos Kypourgos
Costume design: Angelos Mentis
Choreography: Cecil Mikroutsikou
Assistant director: Pantelis Dentakis
Cast: Makis Papadimitriou, Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos, Nantia Kontogeorgi, Giorgos Chrysostomou, Eleni Ouzounidou, Giorgos Papageorgiou, Andri Theodotou, Katerina Maoutsou, Nancy Sideri, Eleni Boukli, Antigone Fryda, Irida Mara, Fragiski Moustaki, Natasa Sfendylaki, and others.