“Acharnians, Stop the War!” Director Martinelli’s Cry for Peace

An article by: Editorial board

On June 3, “Acharnians, Stop the War!” was staged in Ravenna. This performance is a remake of the first comedy by a very young Aristophanes. Director Marco Martinelli brilliantly directed dozens of young people who, thanks to the destructive power of the classics, were able to break through the veil of indifference shrouding the war in Europe.

“I hastened here with a truce for you. But some old Acharnians sensed it, solid, tough, stubborn old men, the heroes of Marathon, all as one, they immediately started, ‘Oh, scoundrel, our vineyards have been cut down, and you bring a truce!’ And they put their hands on the stones. I’m running away and they, howling, are on my heels!”

This is a quote of an excerpt from the first comedy of a very young Aristophanes, one of the main representatives of ancient Greek comedy. The play was staged in 425 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, but today it is surprisingly timely for the war scenario that Europe plunged into again in February last year. The author talks about a separate truce that Dikeopolis, a war-weary peasant, concludes with the Spartans, thus earning the hostility of the inhabitants of the Athenian deme Acharn, the very people whom Dikeopolis will teach that serving the fatherland means primarily serving the peace.

And Acharnians, stop the war! – this is the grand title of the performance that was shown in Ravenna on Saturday, June 3, as part of a dialogue between Ravenna festival, Archaeological Park of Pompeii, and Ravenna theater.

Director Marco Martinelli breathes new life into the Greek playwright’s masterpiece with an explosive comic scene of teenagers from the Vesuvius area. This reflection could not but attract attention in this XXXIV edition of the Ravenna Festival that, on the centenary of the birth of Calvino and in the title “Invisible Cities,” found a happy pretext to contemplate on the dual nature of the city, the symbol of the community, and its crisis.

“The world gets worse with age,” said the great classic, “and today, as then, it is bloodied with wars,” added Martinelli. “Aristophanes wrote his first comedy at the age of eighteen, Acharnesis, against the Peloponnesian War that devastated Athens. With his sulfurous and surreal vein, Aristophanes lashes out at the great evil of violence that is poisoning the emerging democracy. The adolescents of Pompeii, Torre del Greco, Castellammare di Stabia personify the enraged teenager whom we have always regarded as the father of ancient comedy: from their anger and their desires, I received a dramaturgy to talk about the troubled present.”

It was a grandiose performance that was attended by dozens of children who skillfully translated Greek comedy into a brilliant and funny anti-war manifesto, which lifted the veil of indifference that might hover after more than a year of conflict in Europe.

Giornalisti e Redattori di Pluralia

Editorial board