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Sophocles

Sophocles’ Greek Tragedies: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

Sophocles’ Greek Tragedies: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

Oedipus, Antigone, Electra and more

Summary

A collection of full-cast dramatisations of Sophocles’ finest Greek tragedies

One of the three great tragic playwrights of ancient Greece, Sophocles wrote over 120 plays during his 60-year career, though only seven survive today. The most famous of these are the Theban Plays, all three of which are included in this collection alongside adaptations of Electra and Philoctetes, brought to life by celebrated writers, poets, and playwrights.

The Thebans – Translated and dramatised by acclaimed playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, this epic cycle follows the fortunes of Oedipus and his daughter Antigone, in three thrilling dramas of bloody acts, family feuds, justice, power and fate. Oedipus Tyrannos sees the King of Thebes setting out to discover the murderer of the former King, Laius – but his investigations lead him to a devastating conclusion. In Oedipus at Kolonus, the blind, elderly Oedipus, exiled from Thebes, arrives at his journey’s end in Kolonus to face his fate. Will he finally be absolved by the gods and find redemption? And in Antigone, King Kreon, the new ruler of Thebes, threatens death to anyone who buries the body of Antigone’s traitorous brother. But for Antigone, her family’s honour means more than life itself...

The Cure at Troy Adapted by Nobel Prize–winning poet Seamus Heaney, this powerful version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes tells the story of the wounded hero, abandoned for ten years on an uninhabited island. Embittered and conflicted, Philoctetes is forced to choose between his need for vengeance and acceptance of his destiny.

Electra – Grief-stricken after the murder of her father Agamemnon, Electra is consumed by a desire for revenge. When her brother, Orestes, returns, Electra's fury explodes without mercy, leading to a bloody and terrifying conclusion. This classic tale of power and revenge was adapted by award-winning playwright Frank McGuinness, and features music by PJ Harvey.

With star casts including Fiona Shaw, Kenneth Cranham, Brendan Gleeson, Jude Akuwudike, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Rea and Diana Quick, these gripping dramas share Sophocles’ complex tales of love, honour and betrayal for a modern-day audience, enabling us to see these ancient Greek tragedies through fresh eyes.

Cast and Credits

The Thebans
John Lynch, Fiona Shaw, Michael Feast, Kenneth Cranham, Nadine Marshall, Vinette Robinson, Jude Akuwudike, William Ash, Adrian Bower, Russell Dixon, Brigit Forsyth, Deborah McAndrew, James Nickerson, Sarah Parks, Stuart Richman, and Declan Wilson

Translated and adapted by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Produced and directed by Nadia Molinari
Singer/Oboist: Belinda Sykes
Percussionist: Martin Allen

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 10 Dec 2006

The Cure at Troy
Stephen Rea, Brendan Gleeson, Ian McElhinney, Anna Healy, Lalor Roddy, John Hewitt

Adapted by Seamus Heaney
Directed by Pam Brighton
Music: Donal Lunny

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 1 Sep 1991

Electra
Peter Wight, Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, Julia Dearden, Golda Rosheuvel, Thalissa Teixeia, Liz White, Diana Quick, Tyrone Huggins

Adapted by Frank McGuinness
Directed by Ian Rickson
Produced by Nadia Molinari
Co-produced by The Old Vic and Sonia Friedman Productions
Music composed by PJ Harvey

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 8 Mar 2015

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