On the last day of the half term, 37 Latin and Classical Civilisation Sixth Form students attended UCL’s production of Euripides’ ‘Electra’. For some, this was their first theatre trip post-pandemic and so was hotly anticipated by our dedicated cohort.

One Lower Sixth student praised the play for ‘bringing together elements of traditional Greek tragedy with clever, modernised touches’. Another said that this was ‘the best evening of the year – if not, [her] life’.

After heading out for a bite to eat, the group convened at the theatre, buzzing with excitement. The tragedy tapped into the A Level ‘Greek Theatre’ module as well as students’ understanding of the Orestes myth, which acts as a paradigm tale to the central storyline of Homer’s Odyssey.

The play centres on the house of Atreus and the concatenation of deaths within – siblings Electra and Orestes plot to kill their mother and her adulterous lover as revenge for the death of their father Agamemnon, murdered in the bath by his own wife after returning home from the Trojan War.

The recognition scene between Orestes and Electra was a clear highlight, played out with understated subtlety by the Old Tutor. The tragicomic aspects of the play were particularly prominent and came to a head with the ‘deus ex machina’ appearance of Castor, whose performance seemed to channel the spirit of Frankie Howerd in ‘Up Pompeii!’ Students were beaming with appreciation, crying cathartic tears of laugher and lamentation as they emerged from the auditorium.

The evening marked the end of another successful half term for the Classics department; students would like to thank Mr Adams, Mr Morrison and Miss Ferstman for leading the trip.

Mr Morrison (Teacher of Classics)