Bacchus: AgaveEuripides/Tamara Barackov
Ivana Karanfilovska Ugurovska
Premiere December 2022 Macedonian National Theatre Skopje
Duration: 50min without intermission
FROM THE BACCHANTS TO THE AGAVE
In Euripides' The Bacchae, Agave, one of the Thebans who embraces the cult of Dionysus, spends most of the play "offstage". She is the character spoken of, and her behavior is the subject of interpretation and retelling by other (male) characters, primarily her son Pentheus, her father Cadmus, Dionysus, but also the Messenger, who witnessed the bacchanalia. Therefore, Agave becomes the victim and the means of revenge for the son of Zeus and Semele, who as a character does not appear until the very end. While the main conflict takes place between Pentheus and Dionysus, Agave speaks only in the final act, after the infanticide. However, she commits the crime in a state of rapture and trance, unable to process and verbalize her actions rationally. This is why, in developing this text, in which the voice and central focus are given to Agave, we aimed to explore the root of her problems and dissatisfaction. The question we began with is: who is this woman today?
We completely removed the divine, that is, the mythological aspect from the text, and placed the story of Agave and Dionysus within the framework of the tragedy of ordinary mortals' lives. Thus, Dionysus does not seek recognition in the city but within the family that abandoned him as a baby. He is a man without identity, yearning to belong somewhere and be accepted. Agave, on the other hand, is a single mother and a textile factory worker who spends her everyday life serving others at home and work. These two lonely individuals recognize each other and attempt to create a micro-world where they can find what they lack. The arrival of Dionysus awakens Agave's realization that she can be much more than an invisible and exploited subordinate woman. However, her liberation brings tragic consequences.