Phaedra: Hippolytus (The Wreath Bearer)

Phaedra: Hippolytus (The Wreath Bearer)

The tragedy opens with a captivating performance by Ilaria Genatiempo as Aphrodite, the goddess of love. She casts a spell over the royal household, causing Phaedra (Alessandra Salamida) to fall madly in love with her stepson, Hippolytus (Riccardo Livermore). This sets the stage for a vibrant burst of colors, sounds, and electrifying costumes as Hippolytus enters and engages in a contemporary dance with the ensemble—a striking start to a visually stunning production.

Throughout the first part of the play, Phaedra remains silent about her all-consuming desire for Hippolytus. The audience witnesses her growing torment as her passion consumes her. She eventually confides in her nurse, surrounded by her female confidants, each adorned in beautifully colored robes. Director Paul Curran’s interpretation brings a fresh perspective to Phaedra’s love, portraying it as a form of mental suffering. Phaedra appears disoriented and confused, akin to someone waking from a sleepwalking episode, and asks her nurse in a quiet, reflective moment: “What have I done?” This humanizes her character, offering a refreshing break from the traditional melodramatic portrayal.

Following this confession, Phaedra’s suicide is revealed in a unique manner: her body is brought onto the stage by emergency services in high-visibility jackets, enhancing the contemporary tone. Phaedra remains a constant presence on stage, even in death. Her husband, Theseus (Alessandro Albertin), confronts her lifeless body, his reactions filled with humanity. Unlike traditional portrayals, Theseus responds to the Messenger (Marcello Gravina) not with fury, but with quiet sorrow, asking, “What’s happened?”

The true star of the show is the stage itself: the ancient Greek Theatre of Siracusa. A larger-than-life white mask representing Phaedra is placed center stage, providing a powerful focal point. This historic setting, over 2,500 years old, not only sets the scene for the tragedy but also deepens the audience’s connection to the characters. It offers a glimpse into how ancient audiences might have experienced the play, creating a breathtaking backdrop for a breathtaking production.

Teatro Greco, Siracusa

FEDRA: Ippolito portatore di corona
Phaedra: Hippolytus (The Wreath Bearer)

By : Euripide
Translator : Nicola Crocetti
Direction: Paul Curran

Cast includes:  Ilaria Genatiempo, Riccardo Livermore, Sergio Mancinelli, Gaia Aprea, Alessandra Salamida, Alessandro Albertin, Marcello Gravina, Giovanna Di Rauso.

Duration of the shows is about 90 minutes with no interval.