Phèdre: A Play
A lean, high-tension version of a classic tragedy.
The myth of Phaedra is one of the most powerful in all of classical mythology. As dramatized by the French playwright Jean Racine (1639-99), the dying Queen's obsessive love for her stepson, Hippolytus, and the scrupulously upright Hippolytus' love for the forbidden beauty Aricia has come to be known as one of the great stories of tragic infatuation, a tale of love strong enough to bring down a kingdom.
In this "tough, unrhyming avalanche of a translation" (Paul Taylor, The Independent), Hughes replaces Racine's alexandrines with an English verse that serves eloquently to convey the passions of his protagonists. The translation was performed to acclaim in London in 1998, and the London production, starring Diana Rigg, was staged in 1999 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
"We are still catching up with Ted Hughes's gift for narrative verse after his Tales from Ovid," one English critic observed after the London premiere. "Little needs to happen on stage when there's a swirling action-packed disaster movie-riddled with sex and violence-in Hughes's free verse."
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Amazon Antiope Aricia banished blood body chariot Crete crime crown curse dare death ELMET enemy Enter Oenone Enter Phedre Epirus Erechtheus everything Exeunt Exit eyes face Fate father favour fear feel fury goddess gods Greece guilty hand hate hatred heard heart heaven Hercules hide HIPPOLYTUS Madam honour horror horses husband innocent innocent blood ISMENE JEAN RACINE judgement kill King of Athens leave Let me hear look Minotaur monster MOORTOWN mother mourn Neptune never OENONE Madam OENONE My lord palace PANOPE Perhaps PHEDRE My lord Phedre's Pittheus pity prayers pride Prince punished Queen recognise reins Remember Save Seamus Heaney secret shame son's soul Sparta speak stared stop Straus and Giroux sword tears TED HUGHES tell THERAMENE My lord Theseus is alive throne of Athens tremble Troezen underworld Venus voice weep whole world woman words