The 2010 Cambridge Greek play was Aeschylus' Agamemnon, and was a triumph. Since I am neither an accomplished Greek scholar, nor skilled in drama criticism, I'll refer you to the Guardian review by Padraig Belton and the one in Varsity by Xavier Buxton. I suggest you don't bother with this one, which complains about it being performed in Greek. As was pointed out at the academic symposium the next day, the intention behind the tradition is not archaeological, but to create a piece of modern theatre.
I set off on the train, catching one from King's Cross that might have been named the Agamemnon Special, packed as it was to the gunwales with school classics students bound for Cambridge. School parties make up a considerable part of the audience and In the symposium the director, Helen Eastman, on Twitter as HelenEastman, said that she had had them in mind when developing the play; it had to hold their attention, and she was gratified to find two fifteen year-olds close to blows over Cassandra outside after one performance.
All the performances were splendid, but the chorus, on stage throughout, were the finest, and one only has to hear them to understand the point of presenting the play in its original language, and remarkably, they were by no means all classicists. The watchman, who later joined the chorus, gripped us as he described how he scanned for the beacon lights, the women, Katherine Jack as a beautiful Clytemnestra and Phoebe Haines as an eerie operatic Cassandra, which leads me to the adventurous music, by Alex Silverman, which matched the rhythms of the verse perfectly. The design was simple but subtle; the lights wielded by the chorus as the news of the fall of Troy spread gave a sense of speed and distance, while a shrine for Clytemnestra's sacrificed daughter had as its centrepiece Iphigenia's yellow dress, the chorus knelt in front of boxes holding lights, knives, water and earth and brought onto stage jars containing the ashes of the dead.
In spite of preparation with the Loeb translation, the old 1926 edition whose archaisms kept me amused, I had to have recourse to the surtitles which used a forthcoming translation by Edith Hall.
The following day was the symposium and, though I have many pages of notes, I shan't inflict them all on readers. In the first session, on the text, chaired by Paul Cartledge whom I recently heard lecture on the battle of Marathon and expound oracles to Melvyn Bragg (link opens BBC iPlayer), Simon Goldhill, who I'd heard introduce the Kings College London production of the Persians earlier this year, exhorted us to ignore Aristotle and German idealist philosophers, Emmanuela Bakola talked about the language of wealth and earth in the play and Renaud Gagné talked about past and future.
After lunch, in a session on the reception of Agamemnon, Edith Hall, also fresh from explaining oracles on Radio 4 talked about Clytemnestra's afterlives, she being, for Professor Hall, the most extraordinary heroine of tragedy, womb-driven par excellence, but traduced by later versions, Seneca's, and those who followed him. The play is a revenge tragedy, revenge for Iphigenia. She didn't have much time for Eugene O'Neill. Fiona Macintosh discussed European performances and Lorna Hardwick, using the watchman's phrase A great ox stands upon my tongue discussed Seamus Heaney's poem Mycenae Lookout together with a South African version, Yael Farber's Molora, which sets it before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Finally, in a panel on the performance itself, Helen Eastman, Barrie Rutter, who had been in the chorus of Peter Hall's 1981 production, Struan Leslie, Movement Director for the RSC, Alex Silverman, the composer and Thalia Valeta, an actress who uses Greek tragedy in therapeutic work, discussed the performance. I remember chiefly Barrie's description of wearing masks, and how it affects the way the chorus works, Thalia's mention of Engels' interest in the play as marking the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy (which I must confess I had forgotten), Struan's description of the chorus working like a flock of birds that decides collectively where to go, Alex's description of studying classics as involving, 'a green book, a big dictionary and a headache'.