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May 23-25, 28 - June 1
Guild Theatre, Melbourne Uni
Bookings: 8344 7337

In the 5th century BC, when the Athenian and Spartan empires drew all of Greece into a protracted and ultimately ruinous war, the isle of Melos chose to remain neutral and so sealed its doom. Relic reaches past the scanty evidence of Melian culture to imagine the unchronicled and unknowable lives of Melos’ women.

The play is strongly narrative in style, and tells the stories of Anactoria, a slave girl haunted by her past, and Artemisia, the daughter she gave up to the care of the temple of Artemis. As Melos’ destruction approaches, both are drawn back to a bronze statue of Artemis, life-size and incredibly life-like. To Anactoria it is a chilling reminder of murder and her own suffering, but to Artemisia it is precious, the only remaining token of a now-lost friendship.

The play is being performed in the Guild Theatre, which will be recreated into the Temple of Artemis. Blacks will be hung in front of the tiered seating, and the audience will be led down to sit on the stage. The action of the play will take place amongst and all around them, and will feature carefully researched costumes and music from the period. From the bear-dancers of Artemis, to a wedding ceremony, many important experiences of women from this period have been recreated and woven into the performance. It also includes a dramatisation of Thucydides’ “Melian Dialogue”, a cameo by Euripides (who wrote The Trojan Women in response to the events of Melos), and some of Sappho’s poetry. It is designed to be a play that the audience will not just watch, but experience.

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