In KVS, Greek stories are still very much alive

Our globalised, digitised society looks rather different from the world of the old Greeks … or does it? The themes explored in Greek comedies and tragedies, like inequality, restlessness, corruption, misogyny, and overwhelming love, keep on fascinating contemporary theatre creators and touching audiences. This spring, you can discover four performances at KVS that interweave Greek antiquity and our contemporary society into topical, compelling narratives.

Text: Suza De Gryse 

In De Vogels, Lieselotte De Keyzer and Kobe Chielens stage Aristophanes’ (446 BC - 386 BC) classical comedy. Two characters leave Athens to found a new city with the birds, in order to escape the old metropolis’ excess of rules, opportunists and demagogues. The comedy resounds with longing for freedom in a bureaucratic society rife with corruption. The text is full of humour, sneers, allusions, and rhyme. De Keyzer and Chielens complement the text with avant-garde choreographies that become one with the play’s peculiar characters.

At KVS on 23 and 24 February 2024

In Elektra Unbound, Luanda Casella takes on the story of the plaintive Elektra. She wants to avenge her father’s death and wants everyone to witness her suffering. Three actors battle it out for the role of Elektra while performing scenes from literary classics, pop culture, and social media. Through interviews and conversations, we learn more about the lives of these characters, which are just as tragic. Ideas about fame, success, and other great delusions prevent the actors from actually performing the tragedy.

At KVS on 27 and 28 March 2024

STAN and Olympique Dramatique in collaboration with Toneelhuis perform Klytaimnḗstra, an intriguing reinterpretation of the Oresteia. King Agamemnon, Troy’s great victor, returns home and is confronted by his wife Klytaimnḗstra. She is livid at Agamemnon for sacrificing their daughter Iphigeneia to the gods. The play considers three unique perspectives: Aeschylus’ original text, Ted Hughes’ masterful English translation, and Gustav Ernst’s raw interpretation Blood Bath. This layered approach uncovers deeply rooted war-mongering and toxic masculinity, shedding new light on the character of Agamemnon. The result is a dissection of the misogyny in the story, but also in our contemporary society.

At KVS on 8 and 9 May 2024

In Orpheus, Koen De Graeve studies the extremes of human inventiveness in the attempt to rescue Eurydice from the underworld. He is assisted by Peter Vermeersch and the Flat Earth Society Orchestra. To a soundtrack of ancient Greek jazz, a stream of words bursting with imagery erupts, offering an answer to the restlessness and powerlessness we all feel at times. Orpheus is an energetic, hilarious act of desperation that is equal parts captivating and bewildering, enticing and moving.

Showing at KVS on 6 June 2024

Even more good news for Greek tragedy buffs!

In 2025, Iphigeneia by Maaike Neuville and Tessa Hall w/ KVS returns to our stage. 

And in March of 2024, rehearsals start for a musical performance by Michael De Cock and Junior Mthombeni about the Punic Wars in Greek antiquity: Hannibal opens in the 2024-25 season.