By Timberlake Wertenbaker.
Cast: 7m., 7w. (two variable choruses.) Timberlake Wertenbaker, celebrated for her play Our Country's Good, which was showered with awards, turns her talent to a Greek myth. As a London critic describes it, "With wit, economy, and a powerful theatricality she offers us a rich retelling of the Philomele story. Her play passionately demonstrates the violence that stems from enforced silence: the dumb Philomele kills her rapist's son in an awful act of violence." The core of the story concerns Tereus, King of Thrace, who marries Procne, daughter of the King of Athens. Procne pines in her Thracian exile and sends for her beloved sister, Philomele. Her husband Tereus is to escort the sister to Thrace, but enroute he rapes her and when she threatens to talk, he cuts out her tongue. It's powerful theatre and told with devastating vitality. Then, as the critic for the Daily Telegraph sums up, "A cycle of retribution begins which only ends when the gods transform Philomele into a nightingale...classical austerity and great verbal elegance." Another critic described it as "...that rare thing, a compelling piece of theatre which may indeed rivet you to your seat...a raw piece of myth making for a violated age." Area staging. Approximate Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.