‘The Persians’ Review: Aeschylus’s Ancient Portrait of Defeat – The New York Times

First produced in 472 B.C., Aeschylus’s “The Persians” is considered the oldest surviving Greek play. This Dimitris Lignadis staging was broadcast live on Saturday from the ancient amphitheater of Epidaurus; in the spirit of the theater, no recording exists online. The venue was originally conceived as part of the city’s asclepeion (a healing center) because the Greeks considered the balance between body and soul essential to good health. Let’s all wistfully ponder that philosophy.

The show deals with the aftermath of Salamis, a naval battle in which the outnumbered Greeks routed the mighty Persian army 2,500 years ago. At a time when our horizons are closing in, it is downright vertigo-inducing to virtually join a live audience in watching (subtitled) live actors all the way in Greece as they perform a millenniums-old play.

‘The Persians’ Review: Aeschylus’s Ancient Portrait of Defeat
This staging by the National Theater of Greece was broadcast live on Saturday from the amphitheater of Epidaurus.
Elisabeth Vincentelli
NYTIMES