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It is up to humans.

‘Iphigenia in Tauride’, directed by Jacopo Gassman[1] - Greek Theater, Siracusa 2022.


In the picture : staging of ‘Iphigenia in Tauride’, directed by Jacopo Gassmann – Siracusa, Greek Theatre, ‘57° Stagione Teatro Greco 17 maggio – 9 luglio 2022’, edited by ‘Fondazione I.N.D.A. Istituto Nazionale Dramma Antico’ www.indafondazione.org  / The final applause was accompanied by 'Rock bottom riser' (Bill Callahan).


The Messenger’s stage costume is a grey mechanic-spaceman overalls, the only one difference on an ancient scene where the time stopped to celebrate deadly rituals, established by gods.

A real break-scheme man is here the Messenger, through whom the director Jacopo Gassmann has been able to bring to life to the otherwise abrupt ending[2] by Euripides[3] who made Iphigenia a motionless ‘continuum’ with the killed doe – right in the foreground of the stage - from sacrificed to sacred, a feared relic and indifferent to further sacrifices, in the museum whose the lucid shrines with supposed human skeletons overbearingly offer their finds, with the addition of that bull’s head carried in arms as an unuseful trophy.

“There is some disorder among the gods…”, notes the prince Orestes, here fugitive and undercover from Argo with his fellow Pilade.

A disorder not of humans, as a matter of facts, but of gods who this rite wanted to get rid of the human ‘desire’ which, differently from any animal istinct, cannot be governed.

Iphigenia however – notwithstanding she was removed by Artemis goddess in the country of Aulis from that sacrificial killing decided by her father and king Agamemnon, on suggestion of the shrewd Odysseus – has now passed to executioner among the inhabitants of Tauris - she herself who was a predestined victim - but ‘sacred’ motionless not justiciable, of every man from abroad who here can land : a princess on whose naivety many people still keep on banqueting.

Until when?

Tauris is the present Crimea which was thought to be located further the ‘obscure Simplegadi’[4] : the Mycenaean dialect at the beginning of Greek language translates ‘messenger’ as ἄγγελος.

But, in comparison with the text by Euripides, innovator indeed even if obliged to the ancient tune, the director brings a decisive change of pace due to ‘thinking’, and therefore to the intervention of humans : that happens when the Messenger comes in.

A message can be honest or dishonest, can save or destroy also when the only find is the voice of someone who is not here, his or her phrases, his or her accents : here is right the message of a Messenger that makes the help by the divine Athena, conclusive deus ex-machina, a means not so unreachable as it was in the original text by Euripides where the solution remains, due to tradition requirements, outside the human.

“It is up to humans to make the gods credible…”, anticipated Iphigenia who enters the temple going downstairs, instead of going upstairs. The deceit infact hovers in the work of Euripides, and with it the reliability, proved or just presumed.

By the gods first of all Orestes says he has been deceived, as he put his trust into Apollo god who instead persuaded him to kill his mother Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon, together with her lover, the noble but cowardly Aegisthus. What other way remained after that double honour murder if not run away from his own kingdom, and also persecuted by the fury of the ‘Erinyes’ ? Now the king of Sparta Menelaus, brother of Agamemnon and already propulsor of that damned war against Troy, dominates on Argo too!

But also Iphigenia says she has been deceived by Artemis, notwithstanding she was withdrawn by the goddess from the sacrifice, because here she is a prisoner – even if a priestly prisoner – at the Tauerns, where she remais as a foreign woman, together with all the kidnapped virgins , to serve in a temple about which no one in the world knows anything.

The choreography, also formally, is an essential element and mainly in the Ancient Theatre where actors have literally to move and walk for meters on the stage : thanks to a very agile acting and tight so that no one is distracted from listening, the scene dialogues have been really close-knit and impressive in front of thousands of viewers.

A message can live only if it’s well translated[5] you see : when it becomes just a find to be delivered from hand to hand, it loses any sense and meaning.

Toante, king of Tauris, listens to the Messenger and suddenly  begins to consider the uselessness of a frantic chase, Orestes and Iphigenia escaping, until the will of Artemis, the goddess, completely falls. Infact, when Athena comes in and would like to stop Toante, ready for vengeance, he himself was already persuaded not to go on : and the automatism of the Fate stops.

“What’s more rewarding than a trusted tongue?”, then Iphigenia[6] said to her companions, weighing up a possible crossroads, which Euripides didn’t explore.

By means of a translation capability that moves, without lying, between ‘reliability’ and ‘deceit’, how would you name the ruse devised by Iphigenia to save herself and Oreste ?

And, on the opposite hand, how would you name the ruse devised  by king Agamemnon in order to attract his firstborn daughter to the sacrifice ?

To the ‘interpretation’ only ‘thinking’ can access, as ‘thinking’ makes ascribable of sanction the offer, and the appointment, with anyone in the universe : no longer sacred, but not inevitably sacrificed and motionless, also an ancient message can  be put in motion again and made relevant without infringing it.

Euripides accepted that Iphigenia would only be transferred from Tauris, going on with her deadly ritual among humans elsewhere. Thanks to the direction of Jacopo Gassmann, Iphigenia is able to regain both her name and position, and able to refuse being manipulated, that is able to refuse to condemn to death.

There aren’t rituals, as a matter of facts, to which the reliability can be delegated : it is up to humans.


Marina Bilotta Membretti / Cernusco sul Naviglio - September 6, 2022



[1] Jacopo Gassmann, 42 years the last June is, with ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’ by Euripides, at his debut at the Ancient Theatre. Graduated from the ‘New York University’ in ‘film direction’ regia cinematografica’ has developed a few theatrical works : ‘Il minore, ovvero preferirei di no’; ‘La voce a te dovuta’; ‘Il più bel gioco del mondo’. He translated texts, adapting them for the theatre; in 2020 he directed ‘Niente di me’, by Arne Lygre for the ‘Biennale Teatro’ of Venice.  

[2] ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’ ends with an assertion said by Athena goddess : “The need dominates not only you, Toante, but also gods themselves!”, cited by : ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’, a cura di F.Ferrari con testo greco – BUR Rizzoli (2019) p. 195.

[3] Euripides, the youngest among the ancient poets of tragedies, was born in 480 b.C. by Salamina and died at Pella, in Macedonia in 406 b.C. He was fond of studying but he didn’t receive immediately from public praises and approvals, his texts weren’t traditional, on the contrary they were questioning the spectator : ‘Alcesti’ (438 b.C.), ‘Medea’ (431 b.C.), ‘Elena’ (412 b.C.), ‘Oreste’ (408 b.C.) are a few of his own works come down to us. ‘Baccanti’, ‘Ifigenia in Aulide’ and ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’ were performed after Euripides death on initiative of his son.

[4] ‘Symplegades’ were, in the mythology, rocky islands and very near one to the other so that their crossing was dangerous indeed : overcoming was rarely possible, as instead could here Orestes and Pylades. “Now we possess  what we went through the Symplegades, what we went through the inhospitable sea”, Orestes is speaking on the deck of the vessel, ready to leave Tauris with his sister Iphigenia and his fellow Pylades. Cited by  ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’, a cura di F.Ferrari con testo greco – BUR Rizzoli (2019), p.189.

[5] “The written words on the folds of the tablet I’ll say aloud, so that you can report them to my loved ones”, Iphigenia entrusts her message to Pylades as she decided to rescue him and Orestes because they come from Argo, but before recognizing their identity. Cited by ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’, a cura di F.Ferrari con testo greco – BUR Rizzoli (2019), p.145.

[6] Cited by : ‘Ifigenia in Tauride’, a cura di F.Ferrari con testo greco – BUR Rizzoli (2019), p.165



“The floor to the defense”, was published by Agatha Christie in 1933. Original painting by Stefano Frassetto.[1]



Agatha Christie has been said a solitary woman, who preferred reading since she was a young girl, instead of making friends with people introduced to her : we know however that she was able to get to a good judgement on the appointment and reliability.

“The floor to the defense” is not one of her most famous novel, so unusually quiet and lean, even it contains an indispensable core for love, which is a fair alliance and not for crime : that is founding instead of undermining, and defending instead of removing.

It is not infact, during the trial, the speech of the accused woman – as a matter of fact capable to say not so much and with difficulty – to acquit her of the very serious charge of fatal poisoning towards Mary Gerrard, but the logic set out by her defender, the gentle inflexible detective Hercule Poirot, able to rummage with profit into dense annotations which were leading Elinor Carlisle maybe to the capital punishment, and find those smiling ‘gaps’ of logic by which people condemn just for their own - and others – pleasure,  more than for justice : but first of all ascribing to the justice their own pleasure, even their own ‘jouissance’[2].

Any ‘gap’ into the logic really has presence together with consistency, also if veiled by modesty and kindliness which however are common to the villains too. The same ‘gaps’ – unduly filled up with the most disparate affections – can vigorously flash elsewhere.

You may think of the notebook offered by an analyst to the supervisor, when starting to form again the work between the analyst and the patient, an indispensable third reading, external without any non-involvement, aimed at grasping anything the science of thinking (or unconscious) entrusts to neglected finds and little remains, which easily can shift to a story of disease – for many people pretious, infinite, inhuman – that unique end of skein so skilfully adulterated and removed : not without responsibility.


Marina Bilotta Membretti / Cernusco sul Naviglio – August 19,  2022



[1] Stefano Frassetto is born in Turin in 1968. After his degree in Architecture at ‘Politecnico’ he begun as graphic novelist for local magazines. In the ‘90s he edited in France too, on ‘Le Réverbère’ and on ‘Libération’ : then he created ‘Ippo’ for ‘Il Giornalino’ and then the stripe ‘35MQ’ for the swiss magazine ‘20 Minuti’. In 2000 he came into ‘La Stampa’ as portraitist for cultural page and the insert ‘Tuttolibri’, then for the weekly ‘Origami’. Today he works also for the swiss magazine ‘Le Temps’. His collection “35mq. 2012-2022 Dieci anni di inettitudine” has been just published in 2022.

[2] ‘jouissance’ is a typical French word introduced and then often used in psychoanalysis by Jacques Lacan :  as a matter of fact it points out that widespread ‘pleasure’ of both ingenuity and envy, as escaping one’s mind. Among others see ‘Kant con Sade’, ‘Critique’ n.191 aprile 1963 in ‘Jacques Lacan. Scritti’, a cura di Giacomo B. Contri - Vol. II pp.764-791 ‘Giulio Einaud editore SpA’ (1974 and 2002)

Absent the child.

You tube:


‘Glory Box’, by Geoff Barrow (‘Portyshead’) drove the conclusive approval of ‘Agamemnon’, directed by Davide Livermore and  co-produced with ‘Teatro Nazionale’ of Genoa.          57° Stagione ‘Teatro Greco Siracusa’ 17 maggio – 9 luglio 2022 I.N.D.A. Istituto Nazionale Dramma Antico  www.indafondazione.org               



 “…Not present is here the son : right he, who ratifies mine and your own pact of love. Yet he should, Orestes.” [1] 

Let one’s own fellow pass to an emotional puppet, rather than offer appointments to be judged, makes of Clytemnestra the prototype of a slave.




An ancient gramophone is, not by mistake, close-up on the stage of ‘Agamemnon’ : even better it excellently plays its role as a support setting up any memory – but not a fanciful one – when it becomes a visual one, as this one can rely just on one’s hearing.

On the other hand, just beyond the terraces of the Theatre there is the cave dug, it seems, on a project by Archimedes and by now known as the ‘ear of Dionysus’ after the name of the tyrant who, while staying elsewhere, could listen to the speaking – amplified up to sixteen times – of anyone being inside.

What does amplify, then, and distorts and deviates the obscure silence of that intentional absence which is the removal itself, putting aside along a swift and stealthy replacement of a suddenly uncomfortable memory ?

That also says the stage of ‘Agamemnon’, where the director dedicated an accomplished scene, and the whole stand, to the supposedly loving affection by which the miserable Clytemnestra[2], burning with approvals and success, moves away from the palace the child, the young prince Orestes in an opera to another one dedicated. But Aeschylous[3], in his original text, offers as just faded her decision.


“Don’t be surprised : a brother, so kind, of yours in arms, Strofio of Phocis, is growing him.”[4]


One wonders what Orestes will remember about that dismissal by his mother, which the queen made – she says – in order to protect him, as the heir to the throne of Argos.

And we can’t forget that, just a few hours before, mythology has it that the youngest Astyanax was thrown by the enemies Achaeans down the walls of Troy on fire, in order he never become the king.

Aeschilous will put forward the recklessness of the divine ‘Erinyes’[5] to fill in the room left vacant of human reason : and that persisting sound on the stage, no more and not only a background which, at times, gets to cover up the acting, becomes however functional to a docility by which the ancient and still current characters pass to ‘objects’ of a superior Destiny which dominates everything, and everything de-imputes too.

“I enjoyed in the blood”, after the massacre declares with sweeping gestures Clytemnestra at whom, the vindictive and crafty ghost of a pleased Iphigenia smiles with the dagger in her hand.

One’s fellow, here, will never have a place as a partner : and, in the absence which is already a removal, the humans condemn themselves to do everything on their own, included crimes, but these ones accepted and justified in a devout submission to a higher, more separate Justice which can use the human way to un-restrain any common revenge.


“ ‘I must! And so be it’.

Then he tightened on his neck the shafts of the Destiny,

deviated his mind on a contrary course,

of a sacrilegious, obscene impiety : that was the turn

which pulled him, inside to dare the extreme.” [6]


Irreplaceability – which is so doubtful to anyone reads this hardest text – of a decisive revenge Aeschilous shows in his ‘Agamemnon’, making however of the tragedy just a prologue of what will come.

Davide Livermore[7] instead comes again to any human freedom and to a choice still enslaved which doesn’t un-chain from that revenge : and his direction is able to clarify the whole trilogy.


Marina Bilotta Membretti / Cernusco sul Naviglio - August 1, 2022


[1] Clytemnestra justifies to Agamemnon the absence of their son, Orestes. Cited : ‘Agamennone’, p.63 in “Eschilo. Orestea” con testo originale, traduzione dal greco di Enzo Savino – Garzanti Editore SpA (1998).

[2] Clytemnestra admits to Agamemnon she attempted suicide during his absence.

[3] Aeschilous (525 b.C. – 456 b.C.) was one of the most important Greek poets (‘Prometheus chained’, ‘The Persians’, ‘The seven kings against Thebes’, ‘The supplicants women’, ‘Oresteia’ – ‘Agamemnon’, ‘Coefore’, ‘Eumenides’). He grew at Eleusis, a city of mistery rites near Athens, he fighted alongside Athenians, tecnically he innovated the tragedy introducing a second actor to dialogue with the Choir. After the success of ‘Oresteia’ (458 b.C.) he moved to Sicily and Syracuse. 

[4] Here is still Clytemnestra, while justifying towards Agamemnon because of the absence of their son. Cited : ‘Agamemnon’, p.63 in “Eschilo. Orestea” con testo originale, traduzione dal greco di Enzo Savino – Garzanti Editore SpA (1998).

[5] ‘Coefore’ ed ‘Eumenides’, the two following tragedies making the whole tragedy ‘Oresteia’ are dedicated to the fury of the ‘Erinyes’ and to their ennobled domesticating in favour of humans, which appointed them as ‘Eumenides’, i.e. holders of a specific religious cult.

[6] The Choir reports thoughts and words of Agamemnon when sacrificing his firstborn Iphigenia. Cited : ‘Agamemnon’ pp.22-23 in “Eschilo. Orestea” con testo originale, traduzione dal greco di Enzo Savino – Garzanti Editore SpA (1998).

[7] Davide Livermore is director of opera and theatre since 1998, as he’ve been playing any theater role since he was youngest. He opened the last four seasons at the ‘Teatro alla Scala’ of Milano (‘Attila’ by G. Verdi, 2018-2019; ‘Tosca’ by G. Puccini, 2019-2020; the Concert ‘A rivedere le stelle’, substituting the opera due to Covid19 pandemic; ‘Macbeth’ by G. Verdi, 2021-2022). Since 2019 he directed for the ‘Teatro Greco’ of Syracuse : ‘Helen’ by Euripides (2019), ‘Coefore’ and ‘Eumenides’ by Aeschilous (2021), ‘Agamemnon’ and ‘Oresteia’, by Aeschilous (2022). Since 2017 he is collaborating with the ‘Royal Opera House Muscat’ in Oman.

In time.




Not so recent[1] – it is from 2018 – but really up-to-date and enlightening : where the integrity of Freud comes once more in your aid, right where Jacques Lacan gleefully smiled to the undefendable ones, men and women not interested to the truth. Will they really exist ?

As soon there is room for the dark, the unspeakable and the unbearable, to the ‘time’ you can make any vault, tactful or voluptuous, coloured or grey, and finally come back to the starting point, ready for the next round of dancing : it is not the most reassuring ‘time’ but at least is the ‘time’ of an object, something you can – again and again- twist or somewhere support, caress, even gaze.

It remains that Manu Larcent, shrewd author of this unexpectde graphic novel, doesn’t read in Freud the shaman put forward by Jacques Lacan[2] : therefore we thank him, and first of all because he could sweep away – so nicely - that sly stink which many reduced to chains, and moreover uselessly tangled but somehow comforted, come on.

In short, the fetish to catch in order to escape the depressing imputability would be again, and still, ‘the soul of the winner’. 

The time of a thought getting to knowledge as an experience leaving our unconscious, does serve and usefully one's own analytical work, and others : skilfully masked – here is Igor Tuveri[3] and recognizable! – plays the main role of the intelligent servant,  who no one indeed can do without in real life.

It is ‘I’, but English language does keep ‘AI’[4]. Curious obstinacy, huh ?


Marina Bilotta Membretti, Cernusco sul Naviglio 5 luglio 2022




[1] ‘Tempo da cani. Un’avventura rocambolesca di Sigmund Freud’, di Manu Larcent - ‘Coconino Press – Fandango’ 2018 (titolo originale : ‘Une aventure rocambolesque de Sigmund Freud – Le temps de chien’/ ‘DARGAUD’ 2002)

[2] ‘La scienza e la verità. Lezione di apertura del Seminario 1965-1966’ in ‘Jacques Lacan. Scritti’, a cura di Giacomo B. Contri – Bibliot. Einaudi (2002) Vol. II, p.873 e pp.875-876

[3] Igor Tuveri, co-founder (2000) with Carlo Barbieri of the publishing company ‘Coconino Press Srl’.

[4] ‘Artificial Intelligence’, o ‘A.I.’ : there are those who would like it to be replaced to our human imputability of satisfaction and unsatisfaction.

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