National Theatre of Greece - Dimitris Mavrikios

by Jean Racine

Dimitris Mavrikios directs his own personal take on Racine’s Andromache, a tragedy in five acts for which this great classic French playwright was inspired by an extract from Virgil’s Aeneid.

The work of Racine reflects the times in which he lived, under the reign of The Sun King, Louis XIV, when the dramatist was considered an “exquisite painter of human passions” and an unrivalled wordsmith who produced verse of great lyricism.


Following the fall of Troy, Andromache, the widow of Hector, is made the slave of Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, and finds herself in Epirus with her son Astyanax. Orestes arrives in Epirus in search of little Astyanax; he has come on behalf of the Greeks, who fear the child will grow up to become an avenger of Troy.
Although Pyrrhus is to marry Hermione (daughter of Menelaus and Helen), he seeks the love of Andromache in return for the safeguarding of her child. Andromache refuses to bow before Pyrrhus’ blackmail, choosing to remain faithful to the memory of Hector. And so Pyrrhus returns to Hermione, resolved to hand the child over to the Greeks.
In order to save Astyanax, Andromache pretends to accept the love of Pyrrhus, but plans to commit suicide after the wedding. When Hermione, who is in love with Pyrrhus, learns of the imminent marriage ceremony, she decides to exploit the love Orestes has for her to induce him to kill Pyrrhus in revenge.
In order to win the favour of his love, Orestes kills Pyrrhus. Hermione then denies her involvement as an accessory, placing the responsibility for the crime upon the shoulders of Orestes, and kills herself. Orestes is driven to madness, and Andromache to a throne she never desired.