Ancient Greek Theatre in our Modern World

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This cultural tale will take you on a journey through ancient Greek theatre, an art form that thrives in our modern world. Some ancient Greek plays date back to 700 B.C., taking center stage at festivals to honor the gods, especially for Dionysus, the mighty god of theatre, wine and festivity.

At Fly Me to The Moon, our interest in culture connects us intimately with the ancient Greeks. Athens was the cradle of western civilization where criticism of the state and politicians appeared for the first time in history through the comedies of Aristophanes. To this day, drama in all its forms still functions as a powerful medium of communicating ideas and beliefs.

The great works of outstanding tragedians like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides not only provide Greeks and our guests with a night out to enjoy the arts, but also indirectly plant the ideas of justice, democracy, the dangers of extremist ideas and the power of community.

Check out our list of the most important plays that will be performed live on stage in Greece this summer.

Epidaurus Theater

Lysistrata by Aristophanes

This comic masterpiece of war and sex is considered one of the greatest plays of all time. First staged in classical Athens in 411 B.C., the play portrays a woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War by exposing sexual relations in a male dominant society. In order to negotiate peace, a woman named Lysistrata persuaded the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of reconciliation.

In a modern remake by Yiannis Kakleas, Aristophanes’ heroine comes up with a witty scheme to produce immediate results, addressing the issues of war with a combination of political awareness and sexual desire. Aristophanes’ message is clear that when it comes to important decision making — there must be reciprocity and understanding which he believes is a trait that women have embraced better than men.


The National Theatre of Greece in Athens

Performances begin August 5.

The National Theatre of Greece was founded in 1930 with the aim of promoting Greek culture through the preservation of the ancient Greek drama.

Ornithes (The Birds), by Aristophanes

“Turn your minds to our words, our ethereal words, for the words of the birds last forever!” Aristophanes


This comedy, first staged in 413 B.C., was awarded a prize at Dionysia, the largest festival in Athens dedicated to god Dionysus. The plot is set around two middle-aged men discussing their discontent with Athenian life where the only thing people seem to do is argue all day over politics. The two men decide that it is perhaps the time to search for a better life somewhere else until some birds show them that there is a way to change situations. As they say, birds represent a change of season. Birds are also said to be better at doing things that men are often scared to do.


The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

Performance by The Onassis Cultural Centre Athens

Directed by Nikos Karathanos

Performances in Epidaurus begin on August 19.

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is the most important ancient Greek sanctuaries of antiquity, renowned for its exemplary acoustics, distinctive architectural proportions and scenic surroundings.

Plutus by Aristophanes

This ancient Greek comedy highlights how both ancient and modern societies are fueled by wealth. It is the tale of a virtuous but poor man named Chremylos who sets on a journey to Delphi to seek the advice of the oracle. As instructed by the god Apollo, Chremylos invites the first man he meets into his home. That man turns out to be a god in disguise; it is the god Plutus who portrays himself as a blind beggar. After some twists and turns in the story, the beggar’s eyesight is restored. The moral of the play is that wealth is distributed randomly, and if eyesight can be restored then wrongs can go right. It is not impossible for the world to become a better place.



The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

Directed by Yorgos Kimoulis

July 1 – 2

The Persians by Aeschylus

This play is based on the true events behind the victory of Greeks against the Persians during the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C. As they say, there are always two sides to every story. In the play, the Persians proclaim that one day Athenians may face the same fate of loss and defeat. The Persians stirred controversy at the time. Aristotle perceived it as being sympathetic towards the Persians. However, Aristophanes saw it as a celebration of Greek victory in the context of an ongoing war.

ΘΕ.ΑΜ.Α. The Persians, Aeschylus

The Persians

National Theatre of Greece

Performance by the Disabled Theatre Group

July 13-14

Orestia by Aeschylus

Orestia is based on a trilogy of three linked plays Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides. It is about the murder of King of Mycenae Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, and the revenge taken by the son Orestes. Aeschylus used many metaphors relating to night, day, storms and winds. In the play Orestes conveys the message of humanity which is very much an important subject in the modern society.

Oresteia - film stills


Directed by Yannis Houvardas

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

July 8-9

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus

Seven Against Thebes is a tragedy about the battle of two brothers Eteocles and Polynices to claim the throne of Thebes. Despite their father’s will to alternate the throne every year, the two brothers chose to fight against each other which results in their death. The play is an example of human affairs, the cycle of poverty, injustice and oppression. In his work, Aeschylus pointed out that stable institutions could prevent tragic events. The play ends with a message of hope for humanity, that love and kindness will prevail hatred and revenge — a message that withstands time.


Seven Against Thebes

Directed by Cezaris Graužinis

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

Performance by the National Theatre of Northern Greece

July 22-23

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

This Athenian tragedy describes the mission of Oedipus to uncover the curse that has befallen Thebes. As he goes in search of the murderer responsible for the previous King Laius’ death, a prophet sheds light on the mystery telling him that he was the one who killed Laius. As the story unfolds, Oedipus had unwillingly killed his own father and was married to his own mother. The morale of the story focuses on the people’s willingness to ignore the truth and how events unfold based on avoiding the facts.

Oedipus Rex

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus.

Directed by Cezaris Graužinis

July 6-7

Antigone by Sophocles  

This play is a continuation to the Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus. In the play, Antigone, the sister of Polynices, disobeys the laws imposed by the state. She refuses to bury her brother after he dies fighting against his brother Eteocles. The play shows the tensions between moral law versus the law of the state while exploring the importance of authority and family obligations.


The National Theatre of Greece in Athens

Performances begin July 15.


We hope you enjoy reading about how ancient Greek theatre has stood the test of time and continues to leave a mark on our modern world. Have you watched any of the aforementioned plays?