This 2500 year old tragedy describes the victory of the Greeks over the world power of that age, Persia. It is a founding myth of Europe. I invite the audience to discover the text in five steps from five perspectives. And I transform the varieties of spatial settings in a large performance room. The central visual element is a large red square on the floor which seems to separate the audience space from a wide, empty space.
The play begins with the victory fantasies of the Persians. These of course are meant to help them stifle their fear of defeat. The evocations are spoken bit by bit by an actress, unseen. They echo through the room while the audience looks into a wide, empty space.
The second stage is a discursive inquiry regarding the humanistic interpretive tradition of "The Persians". Could it have been enjoyable to experience a lamenting world power on stage? The actress, now mingling with the audience, shows through the historical facts that the gruesomely detailed war reporting in the messenger's account less likely focused on any sympathy with the vanquished (as is often claimed) than on a collective celebration of this Greek "David-victory" over the Persian "Goliath".¹
In part three, the actress takes on the role of the vanquished. Expressing the horror becomes an act of mourning. The voice carefully touches on the words. A lengthy listening follows each lamentation. Intimacy in tone and time-space is linked in such a way that the ancient words of lamentation seem near and far alike. The red square is the focus of this event.
In the fourth part, this space, where till now no acting has taken place, is revealed to the audience as a time-space for their reflections, their memories or their actions. In the last stage, all congregate where the red square was. They sit at tables, eat chocolate (symbolic for a funeral party) and relate to each other as well as to newly arrived guests what happened here.
Comp. Staiger, Emil: Aischylos: Die Perser. Stuttgart 1993.