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The national educational radio network presents the BBC World Theater these weekly broadcasts are made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. BBC World Theatre presents electro by Europe. In a new translation by David Thompson. With music composed by John Beckett. Electra is played by Eileen Kim's and Orestes her brother by Ian McKellen.
Mary Meyers plays plighted Nestor. And Robert Harris. The tooter. Elektra. Agent are. A low lying plain already old in-story through which the river in it has fingers its way down a hundred channels to the sea. This is the land from which one day years passed. I remember on the king embarked with war and a thousand ships and sailed for Troy Priam the Lord of it. He butchered the fabled city itself he sacked. And he came back. Here to Argus and then our gyve temples proudly pirate his looked. At Troy he was triumphant. Here beneath his own roof he was murdered. Clytemnestra his wife cast a net to catch him and the hand that held her cut him down was her lover's. The hand of the biggest issues
Agamemnon perished. The ancients stepped out of the house of Tantalus fell from his hand. And now he gives us radiant and at his side steps that same daughter who was his queen. When I came in and sailed for Troy he left at home. Two children. A boy Orestes and a Go Electra Orestes was smuggled to safety by his father's old tutor. But he gets us intended to kill him. And he was given to a man called stroll for years to be brought up in another country. But Electra The girl lived on in her father's palace and as she grew to the tender blossoming of youth princely suitors from the whole of helis came to seek her hand. But at this years took fright from her if she were royally matched might be bred and avenge of her Agamemnon. So he shot the girl
away and kept her clothes unmade. But his terror remain. Lest even secretly she might have offspring and he planned to have her killed. But from that her mother saved her. The pitiless Clytemnestra who had been glib with reasons for murdering her husband. But who shrank from the killing of our child. So we guess yours took other steps to guard himself. He set a price upon Orestes life. The exiled son and Electra he bestowed in marriage upon me. I am a man of my SEE ME. My father and his father before him for generations they have belonged in this land. It is a good family. No one can despise my birth but I am poor. Poverty forfeits respect and cancers prevent it and in so mean a matted Scar and his fear is.
That a man less humble mated with Elektra Agamemnon's murder might indeed have roused from its sleep and brought down vengeance on his murderer but high. I have not even touched. As love as my witness I have never lain in her bed. She is still virgin. Shame forbids me to take the daughter of a royal house and humiliate her for my pleasure. I am too far beneath. A lot of arrestees in my name and in Miss chance my brother. Steal your heart if ever you come to August looking for her or you will find a peasants wife a toiling Drudge. And that will be Electra. Black Knight you know us have golden style ours.
Still covered us. I heave my picture up and go down to the well for water. I need not do it but I choose to for the gods are watching and must be reminded of my state and what a guest use majesty to the night and into the vast emptiness. My sorrow and loss. Knowing. Electra Why do you humble yourself and torture yourself laboring for my sake. You weren't born to toy. Why not leave it as I ask you to. You are a good friend a good friend. The gods don't know your equal. You have always used me well never ceased to respect the sickness of heart I live with and that is kindness and in time of trouble what solace it
is to have one constant ally as I have in you. But it is my duty whether you tell me to or not to share your labor and to ease your burden if I can. You have enough to do outside. Leave the womans work to me for it is good to come home we are here from the fields and know that all will be in order. If that is how you wish it I say nothing. True it is not very far to the well its dawn on most already and I must drive the cattle out and see to the sowing. You can't own bread by praying for it. It takes work. Stand by me know how kind of these. I count on you as I have always done in all his wanderings you were the one friend that I wronged arrestees have no one knows we are here
but I am here to kill to kill my father's murderers planted GS. I went by the tomb tonight and gave him my tears and a lock of hair and poured out a sheep's blood on the cairn but secretly they won't know who did it. And I'm not going near the city yet. We'll stay here near the border then we can escape across it quickly you and I. If anybody's theist men should recognize me. First I must find my sister. And with that she's managed as we've been termed. I contact her somehow and get her help in perfecting my revenge. Then I don't have to know exactly how things lie in August it's so. Look the sun is up. Let's not stay on the open path. Perhaps I'm Plowman all seven guy will come by here and we can ask him whether my sister lives anywhere about. Her seat. That's one woman with a cropped head carrying water. A slave she must be. Perhaps if you listen you may be able to gather some of what we've
come for. When I strike. Surely time. Feet drag on. Tears keep flowing. That is what good is an endless mind not me. I go in and no one was my father and my mother look like a messed up a quite a mess try. And leave they pitted in try and Nagas. O them miss of us want out of this weirdness some existence. You really live in the underworld. My father murdered by your wife and the lover of your wife. Oh I go. Yes come repeated over and over that is a kind of Saugus in the ritual of it. When will the eye strike could use Florida time
drag on. Tears keep flowing that is what grief is an endless monotony. Where are you. My poor brother. What city what sheltering roof serve your exile so far from the sad sister you left at home to grow up in that Haunted Palace release rather than Gods and bring me vengeance. Our fathers blood draw your wandering steps at last to us. Put down a pitcher. Of. Dawn. I greet you as I greeted the night not with gladness but with. No song but the song of the dead no song but the song of the dead. For you my last father gone under the earth.
My grief shall pour out on stented for your death my nail is part of my tender neck my hands be like that upon my shaven skull. Oh my. God. Do you know Swan that sometimes it's grief across the marshes for us sighs strangled in the hunter's net sounds noble beautiful looks by the mine. I use that diving into the water you poured it ease fully over every limb you lead back to your culture of death and then the X-plane swooped and slaughtered the net of treachery was spread and waiting for you when you came back from Troy. Your wife had no garlands to crown your return. She held for you an axe The two played it acts of a guest use and with the all not one
hint about law. You are to reject them in your name. We have come far reaching for you here in your lonely heart and then came back drinking Mountain ranging shit of my Seanie came by and he brought us word that you don't gots a festival to proclaim put it days third day a maiden's all make ready for their procession to the great temple of the mother got friends. What are gay robes and your gold necklaces to me. My heart can take no pleasure in such things. It is to dull with sadness I shall never join the maids of August at their dancing not pace the sacred figures for them. I have one only care day or night day or night. Tears tears. Look at my tangled hair at these rags of clothing. Do they remind you of the princess of the house of Agamemnon. Do they do honor to the stock of Troy to the memory of him.
Great is the guy to come. You shall have from me five over groups to wear bangles and gold surplus to adorn yourself if you leave the guard an honored to think your tears can of themselves prevail against your in them is not yours my child but reverence for the gods and offerings to them will bring you clearer sky gods don't or I'll cry to them in agony and their Deaf deaf to me. Deaf to my father's murder so long ago. Alone I have to wait for one that is dead and gone and for one that is alive and will not come. He lives in some strange far country a poor vagabond who crouches like a serf by the fire and the sun. And I call the peasant's hut my home when I watch my soul pining away. Driven out of a palace that should be a mind to live in the stony hills and my mother has taken another lover and a couple
on a bed that is rank with the stench of Elim Clytemnestra discuss twin sister as one curse to greet one no curse upon your house he spends peace no more tears now. Look there have been strangers looking all this while in hiding yes that approach got a whole way however let me only reach my house each and every creature what don't be afraid of me but overtake me let me not be killed why should I care when I have no qualms stand away you have no right to touch me I could touch no one with more perfect right eye that saw then in this ambush of my very door stop listen to me and you would understand I am still. I am yours you are the stronger I bring word from your brother. Do you know Fran. Tell me he is alive he is alive all blessings on you for those your blessing on us both ways here somewhere. No way. Here's a wanderer who has no city is not in need. He is not in need but exile whereas
hard always. What then do you bring from him. You sent to find out if you were alive and if living what life you lead your lives can answer that. Look at me. Dried up wasted with bitterness and make me run my hair cropped close like a slave like a mourner. Whom do you mourn arrestees it or have you thoughts of the dead of your father who else who else. Well dear a thought are closer to me than their dear to your brother or closer to him than you he is not with me I cannot feel him close to me. Why do you live here so far out of the city and that it's stranger and managed like Oblivion to me. Is he of this country. Yes but no such man as my royal father would have chosen for me Tell me. I still need to tell your brother you were at my husband's house now but this is where some pissant lives he is a poor man yes but he is a good man and Noble and does me honor. Does Your Honor even in marriage he has never laid a hand on me. Never presume so much as to approach my bed. But why.
What's group are going to he have or does he despise you know he honors my birth and therefore me. But does he not swell with pride a touch of Mac users against Jews had no right to give me to him. In Kara's arrestees calls him to account. One day he is afraid of that but he is also true and upright in himself. Someone who earned such praise deserves to be well repaid. If my still distant brother ever returned. Fire. Why did Iggy Sears knowingly humiliate yourself because this manager makes worthless any child out there with lust for what revenge he thinks so may he pay for it. But your mother did choose standby so nothing. Well it was my friend are loyal to their mates not to mere children. As you know you are still a virgin. No that satisfaction I denied him. It is a secret I kept locked away are these women here are your friends you can trust my words will go no further. PRINCESS. If your brother came to our house.
What is there now he could do you. I ask that it is a monstrous question. Does not this very hour clamor aloud for him but if you carry him how could he work revenge on those the killed his father I do having to do what they have dared to do. And would you in his place dare even to to face your mother with that same axe side kill her which killed my father. Is this what I can tell him let me but feel that blade stick and see her blood and I die happy. Hear her now arrestees. STRANGER I would not know arrestees if I saw him. You would only children when they parted you. Only one Man of those that are true to me might know him. Is he the one to tell me off. Who stole the boy away from death. He is the one he was my father's tutor an old man. Your father when he died did he have do you write some reforms when they vetted him. Do you write.
Tell you what. Under the weeping sky. No no. Forgive a stranger who cries out of another's distress I can feel pity as dull as souls can never feel it but it is a privilege we pay for the heart understands and its Knowledge is pain. Tell me everything your brother will ask and must be satisfied. A stranger listens and they listen who lives from the gossip of cities tell of the wrongs done in August. I will tell you then if I must. You are my friend it seems you love me. And I need not be afraid to tell my troubles to a friend. Trouble is Toolman some tortures rather mine and my father's. Since you prompt me to it stranger I beg you to go back and tell the rest of us what you have seen here. The disgrace. The insults to us both.
Tell him my clothes are threadbare rags. Tell him I live in squalor and filth. Describe to him if you can this hobble which is my home. Who was palace formed if I did not weave these things myself like any drug at a loom. I should go naked. Every morning I bring this water from the river with my own hands. There is no holiday for me. I cannot join in the feasts of the festivals. I dare not face the tongues of the women I cannot talk to them. I am a virgin still. But my mother sits upon the royal throne. Swayed in the spoils of Phrygia and Asian captives wait all about her slaves my father one queens and princesses who we've got here now wear Trojan linen weighed down with broaches and pins and gold. Yet my father's blood is still a blackening rocked upon the walls while he who killed him drives out in the same chariot my
father rode and in his reeking hand he thought as she is triumphant the sector which once marshalled although one has a grace they have dishonored Agamemnon's grave. Know libations have been put out there. No sprays of green Myrtle laid on the ground no tears shed no gifts of battle. My birth and my mother's glorious make to the sudden beast they call her husband stomps upon it in a drunken Glee pelted with stones and when he thinks of us shouts aloud. Is there and where is the grave. Yeah yeah I know. How do you see no one here wanting to champion the memory of Agamemnon. Here is Barry absence brings the shame and ridicule upon us. So tell him stranger tell him what I have told
you and I do not speak for myself below. Not just these hands this tongue this grief stricken head. There are many beside to wish him here again. Oh. Gods cannot the man whose father wiped out Troy challenge this one mortal enemy face to face and crush him. The rest is young and strong. And he is. I go man. Lady your husband returns his work in the fields done by other strangers at my door who Artie. If you look for anything here they have me to ask. It is dangerous for you to be seen with men we do not know one cannot trust. Oh dear friend don't be suspicious of them or of me. These men have come from arrestees and bring news of him. Strangers forgive what was said. News of Orestes. He is alive and they say so and I think it is true. Does he remember his father and you and what he owes you both we must believe so our man in exile cannot act easily. What message do they bring that you sent them to find out about me.
They can see Will you tell them something. The rest I expect they have been learning from you. They have heard it all. Then you should have made them welcome strangers. My house is humble but it is yours for your happy news accept such hospitality as I can offer. Please do not deny me. You come from our brother and you shall be as our brothers for the way I am but a poor man. I am not a grudging one is this the man who was made to marry you who treats you with such respect and refuses to shame arrestees. You see there is nothing you can surely tell a good man by. That is no rank or degree in nature only confusion. I have known the son of a noble father to be an empty husk and great hearts to spring from the lowest rank I have known poverty in the heart of rich men and wealth of spirit in the humblest poor. How can you judge a man's worth truthfully. Not by his worldly goods.
But by his lack of them for what inducement of virtue has a poor man got up by his bravery in battle. What does a breastplate tell you with a soul inside it. Forget these things. Here is a man who is not great in August with no pride of birth one of the common people. Yet one of the elect. When will you ever learn you who leap to false judgments to take a man of his method and measure nobility by character. Such men govern states with the prudence with which they govern themselves all others are statues for the marketplace mindless hulks of royal arm is a sign of courage no more assured in the week when Spears attack only greatness of heart counts for strength. Let us accept the hospitality which Orestes who we represent would be proud to accept. Though I could wish as arrestees himself had a house to do as equal.
Perhaps he will come Apollo's commom still stands. Who can tell. Do you not feel a stirring in your heart toward the gladness over the breach we were turning slowly slowly and your writing is still you know there is no provision in this house. Why ask this to your table when you have nothing to set before them. If the other men may seeme they will accept whatever we can offer you cannot spare it or please use for my sake. Go and find the old man who was my father's tutor and tell him to bring milk or a young lamb for me to entertain his guests with he keeps a flock down by the townies river by the boundary between August and Sparta. Now that he is banished from the city and it will give him joy to hear that the boy he once rescued is still alive. We could get nothing from the palace or from my mother. No news of the arrestees would not be welcome news to her. I will go and find the old version of that is what you want and give him your message. But go inside yourself now and make everything ready for a woman can always find enough to stretch to a meal if
she wants to. We have plenty already to satisfy such guests with for a day at least.
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BBC world theatre
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-2-16 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “BBC world theatre; 16; Electra,” 1970-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 25, 2023,
MLA: “BBC world theatre; 16; Electra.” 1970-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 25, 2023. <>.
APA: BBC world theatre; 16; Electra. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from