Words by Connie Tran
Thyestes (originally created by The Hayloft Project) is an adaptation of one of the lesser known stories in Greek mythology. The Greek myth follows Thyestes and his brother, Atreus, after they are exiled by their father for murdering their half-brother to an attempt to gain the throne of Olympia.
The theatre show does not simply re-enact the myth in chronological order but instead takes an innovative approach. The show re-enacts the scenes leading up to, or following the significant moments in the Greek fable, with a number of modern day elements incorporated into the setting of the play.
The juxtaposition of modern with the past makes the enactment of particular themes particularly intense. While infidelity, rape, and incest are commonplace in ancient time, to visibly see them portrayed in a modern setting is a particularly confronting experience. As the viewer, you cannot help but recoil yet continue to watch in awed disgust.
The performances from Henning, Ryan and Schmitz are the true stars of the show. Each and every one of their performance is both immersive as well as expressive, and bring the show to the high standard of what it currently is. Henning’s part as Thyestes was admirable, as was Ryan’s ability to seamlessly adopt multiple roles within the show. However, it was Schmitz’s spectacular performance as the volatile Atreus that stood out from the three.
For those who may not be familiar with the original myth, it is recommended that you familiarise yourself with the tale. It can be very easy to get lost and confused, particularly as the only indication of what each scene depicts is introduced in a few sentences commencing each act.
Definitely not for the fainthearted, Thyestes will leave you feeling shocked, overwhelmed and speechless.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Thyestes is currently showing as a part of Adelaide Festival at Space Theatre until Wednesday, 7th March.