National Theatre of Greece - Lena Kitsopoulou

The Wasps
by Aristophanes

Aristophanes’ The Wasps, a rarely staged comedy in Greece, returns to the repertoire of the National Theatre of Greece, sixty years after Alexis Solomos’ production, in a modern “transcription” by Lena Kitsopoulou, stage director and author of the play’s free adaptation. In her debut in the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the heretic artist, along with a remarkable team of colleagues, actors and actresses, takes on a play that reflects upon the pathologies of our democracy and the ruptures of justice.

In The Wasps, Aristophanes uses the vehicle of comedy to satirise, in his unmatched sharp manner, a profoundly political issue: the erosion of our justice system – the cornerstone of popular sovereignty in ancient Athens. On the one hand, a gloating, litigious old judge who only lives to convict the “guilty” and, on the other hand, his desperate son. A rotten judicial system doling out benefits and a society entirely made of Wasps: tough individuals with a sharp sting, an insatiable appetite for criticism and zero inclination for self-criticism. A society trapped in the suffocating cocoon of discord and malice. A society that twists, writhes, unleashes “blame” and ends up feeding on its own poison.

In this version, the director turns her gaze to the modern “stings”: the people’s courts set up on TV shows and in the social media. With caustic humour and a scathing attitude, the play sheds light on systemic rot, slumbering defences, racism, fanaticism and the rigid political correctness of our times. “...I condemn you on my show, on my mobile phone, in public, wherever I am and wherever I stand, and mind you: anyone who doesn’t agree with me is a fascist, complicit with the guilty. I accuse, therefore I am something. I accuse, therefore I exist...” notes the director, who attempts to bring to life, before our very eyes, at times the mire that threatens us and at other times the ideal that exalts us.