A question asked by a spectator at the end of the performance of “Iphigenia in Tauris” comes to mind. The question was about the extent of Greece’s responsibility for the fact that people’s pensions cannot be paid. I don’t remember what my exact answer was, but I remember the feeling that this question gave me. Actually, Greece is the black sheep. I can however give a lucid answer. Since 2002 (it’s ten years now), we joined a united Europe for a better future. This future did not only get better but we must reanalyze the word “Europe” (“Ευρώπη”, from the verb ὁρῶ=see). We slave 80 hours a day, some die of starvation, women cannot have children, and those who can, prefer to eradicate them ... Why? Because they are not able to raise them and, most of all, they are afraid for their own life. Are Greeks responsible for this? Of course not. A number of important factors, like financial interests, the game of power, have turned everyday life into a hostile environment. This phenomenon exists not only in Greece but in the whole world. The lofty vision of united Europe ... the Future, has been destroyed... Man on a national, social, personal level has been destroyed. How did we get into this Trojan war? Because this is what it’s all about.
Democracy and democratic values are the essence of Europe. Despite all that, democracy has become rigid and distorted. In this case, all we end up with is a figure, an illusion of democracy, while its real meaning is imprisoned. In a previous chapter we mentioned the problem that the heroes came across regarding Helen: if they really can see her or not. This situation can relate to Europe’s conditions nowadays:
1) The question of total trust (if not captivity) in things visible, material, ephemeral that our senses can see, embrace and savor.
2) The question of focusing on the present, here and now.
3) The mentality that considers opposition and competitive morality as the only means for success, thus leading to intense stress, depression and endless disputes and confrontations. These problems are affecting all members of European societies.
Note: I am not against the competitive spirit. I support fair play and competition. But not the kind that bows down before blind avarice and insatiable thirst for power and leads to the destruction of human life, driving people to a wild-goose chase for illusions of wealth and success (the ghost of Helen).
We must pursuit the rebuilding of a worthwhile life, with the right priorities and true values. We have reached a point of savage exploitation of the weak by the powerful. I fear that this frustration will evolve into an explosive rebellion due to injustice and inequality. We are responsible because we have loved hedonism. A tendency that plagued all of societies until the recent past (I use the past tense because we do not have the luxury to savor anymore). We have reached the point where a big percentage of young people are sinking into depressive situations. They don’t care about life that no longer has significant things to offer (see the increase of drug use, emigration, lack of interest for politics and society). However, we still live in an era governed by shallow and superficial forms of human relations. Relationship problems are so intense that people, especially the young, are reclusive and find refuge in total and silent isolation. How is that possible? Young people are the future.
Although they were given great opportunities for education, free development and progress, the result is rather dramatic, as we see. One out of a thousand will succeed in making his dreams come true, while the other 999 will find that what they have dreamt of is gone and forgotten and not realized (the last phrase of Euripides in our play).
Also, another important question is that of similarity. The degradation of language is an important example of this problem. Since we perform in front of an American audience we must point out that contemporary Americans believe that they live in a developing and pluralistic country which evolves into a continuously larger differentiation. But, objectively, the meaning is the exact opposite, because pluralism lies behind the identical and shared expressions leading to the point of globalization.
In this play, written by Euripides approximately 2500 years ago, we follow our itinerary, where we come from. In times of chaos and confusion, we acquire a genuine relationship with the truth. And the most important: we are obliged to change our priorities, unless we want to continue living as members of humanity enslaved by machines, numbers and matter. Euripides, showing respect for man, human freedom and human rights, became a pioneer in the fight for a genuine and accomplished democracy. I believe in a future with positive development. The new generation is the future (now still a present). I am a part of this generation. Only that this privileged new generation should not forget Saint Paul’s “Epistle to Corinth”.
Finally, by presenting a play of this kind, I wish to remind America of the seed sown by Athens in 412 BC so that in 2012 AD American democracy comes to fruition.