The Oresteia (2018/2019)

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"A masterclass in Epic Theatre... poses a heck of a lot of questions for the audience"

The Reviews Hub

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"a brilliant adaptation... Splendid Productions did a more than excellent job at dragging a text from 5BC straight into 2018"

North West End

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"... brilliantly engaging and thought provoking... I don't think I have ever seen a better Oresteia... [it] summed up so many of the themes of C5 Athens - making them accessible to a contemporary audience"

Siobhan DeSouza, Classics Department,
Hereford Cathedral School

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"It was my favourite one so far!"

Sarah Dobson, City of London School

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"We loved the show! The themes were particularly resonant and powerful. The exploration of the position of women was brilliant... a really useful tool into Brecht, Greek theatre and all kinds of discussions about politics, power and justice"

Phillipa Hockenhull, Head of Drama,
Queen Elizabeth's Hospital

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"I really enjoyed the depth of thought, the layers that were presented in this performance... There was lots of discussion amongst our students about the different meanings and they liked being able to unpick all the different angles of a complex storyline"

Gemma Higgins, Teacher of Drama,
Thomas Hardye School

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"We were totally wowed by this production - I couldn't fault it. LOVED it - every second. "

Helen de Mattos, Director of Drama,
Farnborough Hill School

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"... it always amazes me how different they all are and how fun you make the texts. The students really enjoyed the performance and had plenty to say about style, content and techniques afterwards."

Charlie Close, Kesgrave School

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"Very slick and beautifully structured... The analysis of the production was so much better than we normally get."

Louise Eden, Drama Teacher,
Northgate High School

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"The energy and technical ability of the actors to hold the story, performance and audience together was just amazing... and gave my A Level students lots to think about in terms of their devised pieces."

Natasha Coccia-Clark, Director of Drama,
Reading Blue Coat School

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"The discussion that followed Oresteia was fantastic - students were ignited in terms of the narrative, acting and politics"

Emily Moll-Colman, Head of Drama,
Huish Episcopi Academy

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"It was engaging, fun and relevant for the students... [We] had raving reports on the show afterwards."

Bethany Bratby, Teacher,
Elliott Hudson College

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"... as well as being fun and a provider of a rollercoaster of emotions [the play] was a lesson in Brechtian techniques and I was grateful that my pupils could see that you don' t have to go to the NT to see some fantastic theatre."

Geraldine Whitfield, Acting Head of Drama,
Repton School

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"As always the performance was outstanding, slick, rich in theatrical techniques and style. Great inspiration for our students... a privilege to watch."

David Hilton, Area Leader for Arts & Technology,
Cottingham High School

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"It was a fantastic performance providing invaluable resources for reviewing productions at both GCSE and A level... original, expertly performed, funny yet also moving and featured some ingenious, ideas and characterisation."

Dawn Elliot, Head of Drama,
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

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"The performance focus and energy also serve as perfect examples to refer students back to when giving them feedback on their own work... It's our annual treat."

Simon Watt, Programme Area Leader,
West Notts College

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"The performance was absolutely exceptional... The students who are devising work at the moment are absolutely inspired... You would be amazed how much red has suddenly appeared in students' work and how often they are pausing and rewinding!"

Marie Hood, Head of Drama,
Newent Community School

Cassandra
Cassandra_2
Clyt_Impressive
Clytemnestra_End
Clytemnestra_Old_Men
Clytemnestra_Steel_Spine
Death
Disembowel
Electra
Electra_Bound
Eumenides
Furies
Fury_Hoop
Gestus
Gossips
Grandmothers
House_of_Atreus
Iphigenia
Love_Song
Lovesong_1
Muscle_Men
Nu_Fury
Nurse
Old_Man
Orestes
Spectators
Tan_Fury
The_Watchman

  Grace Goulding, Tanya Muchanyuka and Nuala Maguire in Splendid’s 2018 production of The Oresteia (photos: Lewis Wileman)

Splendid Productions present an epic, murderous tale of family, history, vengeance and honour in a story nearly as old as theatre.

Condensing Aeschylus’s classic trilogy into an hour, Splendid’s regal cast of three retell the story of King Agamemnon, his queen Clytemnestra, and their children, Iphigenia, Electra and Orestes.

A legendary family born to power, but destined to rip itself apart in a bloody cycle of tragedy.

Theatre tour poster design: Ben Hales

Splendid Productions’ ‘The Oresteia’
Toured Sept 2018 – March 2019
Written by: Aeschylus
Adapted by: Kerry Frampton 
Directed by: Kerry Frampton
Additional Direction: Matt Wilde, Mal Smith
Songs by:  Kerry Frampton, Ben Hales
Design by: Kerry Frampton
Costumes by: Kerry Frampton, Christine Frampton, Heather Castle-Rainsbury

Cast & Characters

Grace Goulding: Fury, Watchman, Orestes, Cassandra
Nuala Maguire: Fury, Clytemnestra
Tanya Muchanyuka: Fury, Electra, Nurse, Iphigenia

with thanks to:
Shermaine Slocombe, Halley Academy, Lucy Cuthbertson,
Scott Smith, Genevieve Say.

More about The Oresteia

The Oresteia DVD
£35
The Oresteia script
£15
The Oresteia Education Pack
£12
The Oresteia Super Pack
£55

“As a piece of drama in itself it was brilliantly engaging and thought provoking. The true genius of it is probably only clear to those knowing the plays and the context well. I don’t think I have ever seen a better Oresteia in academic terms or one which took on board and summed up so many of the themes of C5 Athens – making them accessible to a contemporary audience without hijacking any for other purposes. We have had such deep and interesting discussion with both our Y12 and Y13 classes since then, which showed how much they were able to understand and appreciate your work… As Aristophanes said, Schoolboys have their masters to teach them – grown-ups have the playwrights.”
Siobhan DeSouza, Classics Department, Hereford Cathedral School

“It was my favourite one so far!”
Sarah Dobson, City of London School

read more…

“As a piece of drama in itself it was brilliantly engaging and thought provoking. The true genius of it is probably only clear to those knowing the plays and the context well. I don’t think I have ever seen a better Oresteia in academic terms or one which took on board and summed up so many of the themes of C5 Athens – making them accessible to a contemporary audience without hijacking any for other purposes. We have had such deep and interesting discussion with both our Y12 and Y13 classes since then, which showed how much they were able to understand and appreciate your work… As Aristophanes said, Schoolboys have their masters to teach them – grown-ups have the playwrights.”
Siobhan DeSouza, Classics Department, Hereford Cathedral School

“It was my favourite one so far!”
Sarah Dobson, City of London School

“It’s the best performance we’ve seen for several years, in terms of students’ ability to access and understand the performance as well as enjoying it. They are still talking about it. I was impressed with how much my year ten students were able to communicate given their comparative lack of training – this says lots.”
Mark Oakshott, Head of Drama, All Hallows Catholic School

“We loved the show! The themes were particularly resonant and powerful. The exploration of the position of women was brilliant. Have times really changed…? The choral work was excellent and the 3 performers had great chemistry. The use of choral speech and movement was impressive and told the story effectively. The moments of real truth and honesty were really powerful such as Cassandra’s situation and the use of the red fabric… The decision not to portray the gods and focus on characters making choices was a really useful tool into Brecht, Greek theatre and all kinds of discussions about politics, power and justice which I hope I will be having this week as my classes reflect on it and write about it… I will be reading more Greek theatre now. Great stories!”
Phillipa Hockenhull, Head of Drama, Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital

“I really enjoyed the depth of thought, the layers that were presented in this performance to the students. There was lots of discussion amongst our students about the different meanings and they liked being able to unpick all the different angles of a complex storyline”
Gemma Higgins, Teacher of Drama, Thomas Hardye School

“We were totally wowed by this production – I couldn’t fault it. LOVED it – every second. To hold the attention span of a young audience is no mean feat – and for just over an hour – well done!!”
Helen de Mattos, Director of Drama, Farnborough Hill School

“We loved it!! The performance was so engaging and having seen three other Splendid performances, it always amazes me how different they all are and how fun you make the texts. The students really enjoyed the performance and had plenty to say about style, content and techniques afterwards.”
Charlie Close, Kesgrave School

“The feedback from the pupils/students was incredibly positive. To be able to engage with a performance close up and see the ‘nuts and bolts’ in the Brechtian sense was inspiring to them. They were able to see what could be achieved with relatively few extras. Performers were extremely charismatic, engaging our young people from the outset. Very slick and beautifully structured… The analysis of the production was so much better than we normally get. GCSE and A Level students were really empowered to talk about it – this will pay huge dividends in the written paper when answering the ‘Evaluation of a Live Performance’ question. In addition, seeing the actors being analytical and so knowledgable was insightful for some of them – develops the understanding of what is required in the industry in terms of skill, commitment and knowledge. We all now have a shared exemplar to reference when discussing work will enhance understanding of practical work also. We will also incorporate some of the exercises into GCSE and A Level work.”
Louise Eden, Drama Teacher, Northgate High School

“We loved how powerful the representation of woman in the plays came across – particularly because we are an all boys school and need to expose them to this! The energy and technical ability of the actors to hold the story, performance and audience together was just amazing. We were in awe of Grace, Tania and Nuala!… We thought the design of the show was particularly effective. The use of props were excellent in communicating meaning for audience and gave my A Level students lots to think about in terms of their devised pieces.”
Natasha Coccia-Clark, Director of Drama, Reading Blue Coat School

“The creative, imaginative but accessible adaptation really resonated with our students. The performance was full of creative ideas/techniques that truly inspired. The script choice felt particularly relevant within today’s political climate… The discussion that followed Oresteia was fantastic – students were ignited in terms of the narrative, acting and political message. Our students really enjoy and look forward to seeing your latest production. The workshops support the exam specifications and provide a different insight for our students. You get to come in and be far more exciting as you can solely play and push them in a new way. Plus – we REALLY enjoy having you here!”
Emily Moll-Colman, Head of Drama, Huish Episcopi Academy

“It was engaging, fun and relevant for the students… [We] had raving reports on the show afterwards.”
Bethany Bratby, Teacher, Elliott Hudson College

“I was so impressed with the performance… the level of energy and commitment required and the performers were formidable, so engaged and so engaging. The play itself, as well as being fun and a provider of a rollercoaster of emotions was a lesson in Brechtian techniques and I was grateful that my pupils could see that you don’ t have to go to the NT to see some fantastic theatre. Also impressed by the fact that they all kept up the energy for the whole day workshops, talk about stamina 🙂 … Thank you for a fabulous first experience with Splendid, I will be back.”
Geraldine Whitfield, Acting Head of Drama, Repton School

“As always the performance was outstanding, slick, rich in theatrical techniques and style. Great inspiration for our students. The skill delivery of the three performers was exceptional – a privilege to watch.”
David Hilton, Area Leader for Arts & Technology, Cottingham High School

“It was a fantastic performance providing invaluable resources for reviewing productions at both GCSE and A level. Furthermore it was really engaging and inspirational for pupils in terms of helping them with their own performance skills… The actors were great with the students- positive and engaging to listen to. Their enthusiasm and passion for their work really inspired the students and gave them the confidence to develop their own multi-role skills… It was all really valuable but the performance itself was the most valuable; it was original, expertly performed, funny yet also moving and featured some ingenious, ideas and characterisation.”
Dawn Elliot, Head of Drama, Clitheroe Royal Grammar School

“Slick and engaging delivery with a variety of techniques students can see clearly in action. The performance focus and energy also serve as perfect examples to refer students back to when giving them feedback on their own work… It’s our annual treat.”
Simon Watt, Programme Area Leader, West Notts College

“The performance was absolutely exceptional, I would argue the best work I have ever seen by Splendid, and far exceeded expectations… The students who are devising work at the moment are absolutely inspired – we’ve had tears of joy! You would be amazed how much red has suddenly appeared in students work and how often they are pausing and rewinding!”
Marie Hood, Head of Drama, Newent Community School

Press on The Oresteia

… absolutely hilarious… a masterclass in Epic Theatre… poses a heck of a lot of questions for the audience”
The Reviews Hub – Read the whole review…
The Oresteia, The Lowry Quays Theatre, Salford, 28 November 2018
Reviewed by The Reviews Hub


A story of blood-for-blood revenge crime as a family seeks vengeance on each other, The Oresteia is the story of the fall of the house of Atreus. An ancient Greek myth, originally staged two-and-a-half-thousand years ago by Aeschylus, Splendid Productions have turned this ancient story into a hard-hitting piece of epic theatre which begs the question – does anyone truly deserves death?

Three furies tell the story; goddesses of vengeance who are charged with pursuing and driving mad anyone who has taken the life of a family member. Nuala Maguire, Grace Goulding and Tanya Muchanyuka play these three, wrathful Erinyes; exploring how the women in this ancient story have never been given a voice. Despite being muzzled themselves by traditional crinolines, these three women make it their duty to allow the voices of the female characters to be heard.

Kerry Frampton’s modernisation of the story uses cold, emotionless police reports to highlight to the audience that murder is more than a dead body, it is a horrific and gruesome act. Does anyone deserve that? Is murder ever okay? Iphigenia allowed herself to be sacrificed and Clytemnestra was killed as an act of vengeance. Does that make either act acceptable? The audience are left to decide.

The performers are slick, in tune with each other and at times absolutely hilarious. Their seamless ability to break the fourth-wall is commendable. The audience, full, no doubt of A Level students, are given a masterclass in Epic Theatre. Maguire, Goulding and Muchanyuka are a well-polished chorus and exceptional character actors. Their beautiful use of animalistic idiosyncrasies as the furies is highly effective and their multi-role play clean, swift and physical.

What was particularly engaging and interesting about this production was how it all ties together as a social commentary on the rights and voices of women. Governors, parliamentarians and pockets of the general public are parodied to highlight their views towards women in power, despite being satirical, this demonstrates a chilling truth about how society continues to judge women.

There are many effective theatrical moments in this production: beautiful use of British sign language as a storytelling device, the way hanging cloths are used to trap and shroud Electra and Cassandra respectively, the use of song and music, and many mode ideas on a list too long to include.

This short, one act performance poses a heck of a lot of questions for the audience. It is a fine example of didactic theatre and will no doubt be well received as it tours theatre schools over the coming months. [Abbie Rippon]

… a brilliant adaptation… Splendid Productions did a more than excellent job at dragging a text from 5BC straight into 2018″
North West EndRead the whole review…
The Oresteia, The Lowry Quays Theatre, Salford, 28 November 2018
Reviewed by North West End

The Oresteia is yet another brilliantly adapted and stylised educational piece from Splendid Productions. The Quays Theatre at The Lowry filled up with theatre studies students, and Nuala Maguire, Grace Goulding and Tanya Muchanyuka did an expert job at keeping them engaged for the whole hour long show.

Aeschylus’ tale of murder and vengeance is traditionally in three parts, the trilogy exploring revenge and justice as a family brutally tears itself apart via ‘The Furies’, female infernal goddesses, who narrate the tale murder by murder – feeding on injustice.

This is where Splendid struck brilliance – not only was the show engaging and easily accessible to the audience, they kept incredibly dark themes light with humour, audience banter, music and hyperbolic characterisation; but it was also highly topical and modernised to be just as relevant in the present day.

vAs with any Brechtian adaptation, there was no set design, or props as such, simple costume symbolism – everything was acted out by the trio on stage using only red scarves to distinguish each character visually. The Furies wore red caged skirts when they were acting ‘civilised’, which became an icon for the pieces themes as a whole, especially paired with heart shaped rose-tinted glasses!

The Furies put on these caged skirts when they felt the need to be civilised, which the text explores the idea of in questioning the legal justice system, but they were mostly used as a metaphor for how women were so drastically oppressed in Ancient Greece, and the modernising made it impossible not to apply it to modern day. Intrinsically feminist, this piece gives a voice to the voiceless women powerfully and factually with no room for misinterpretation.

With adlibbing including references to ‘the wall’, ‘nasty women’, political scandal, distraction techniques, calling out privilege and ensuring all positions of power were questioned as well as showcasing all the ways that women were exploited and scrutinised whilst men were showered with adoration Splendid Productions did a more than excellent job at dragging a text from 5BC straight into 2018.

The house lights remain on for this relaxed performance, more of a workshop than a night at the theatre, The Oresteia uses so many levels and mediums, including (some very catchy!) songs, soundscapes, musicality, symbolism and choral work to deliver a brilliant adaptation that students and theatre-goers alike would be lucky to catch. [Jo Flynn]

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