Chamberlain, Franc (2010) Blood on the carpet. [Show/Exhibition]

Blood on the Carpet is a version of Aeschylus’ tragic trilogy The Oresteia, adapted and performed by first-year DTS students under the direction of Franc Chamberlain (with support from Gavin McEntee).

First performed in Athens roughly 2468 years ago The Oresteia dramatizes a change in notions of justice from blood revenge to trial by judge and jury. In the three plays of the trilogy, the shift to a democratic judicial system brings to an end the curse of the House of Atreus and its sequence of revenge killings.

Where it all began: It is said that Tantalus feasted with the gods and stole the divine nectar and ambrosia and was banished from Olympus. Inviting the gods to dine with him, he served them a stew made from his son Pelops (some say from his whole family) to test the gods’ omniscience. Of course they noticed and Tantalus was punished by being placed in the deepest pit of Hades where he still stands in a pool of water with a fruit tree above his head. When he reaches for the fruit the branches stretch away. When he dips for the water, it recedes of of reach.

Tantalus’ son Pelops was resurrected by the gods and had twin sons, Atreus and Thyestes, who murdered their brother Chrysippus, heir to Pelops’ throne, and were banished. The twins became joint regents of Mycenae/Argos but then quarreled over who should be king. Atreus discovered that his wife was having an affair with Thyestes and took revenge by killing Thyestes sons and serving them to him in a meal. Thyestes was banished and had another son, Aegisthus, by his daughter. Aegisthus’ mother, guilt-ridden, abandoned her baby on a mountain and he was found by a shepherd and taken to Atreus who brought him up as his own son. When he came to adulthood Aegisthus discovered his true parentage and killed Atreus.

Atreus, however, had two sons who survived him: Agamemnon, who married Clytemnestra, and Menelaus, who married Clytemnestra’s sister, Helen. When Helen was abducted by Paris and taken back to Troy, the two brothers put together a task force to bring her back. Before the ships could sail, though, Agamemnon had to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis. The siege of Troy lasted ten years, during which time, Clytemnestra, angry at the killing of her daughter, started an affair with Aegisthus and plotted her revenge on her husband

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