Written by Moira Buffini and directed by Richard Eyre, Welcome to Thebes is a must watch for anyone interested in politics, development, women’s rights or just good drama. Set in the fictional country of Thebes, the story follows Eurydice, the new president, in the days after the country’s first democratic election. Her challenge is great – to bring unity, prosperity and food to a country torn apart by civil war and corruption, whilst keeping at bay the warlord Prince Tydeus who cannot accept either the war being over or a group of women running the country. Her great hope comes in the visit of Theseus, first citizen of Athens and the greatest embodiment of liberty and democracy the world has ever seen. As the play progresses Eurydice finds herself trying to balance her ideals with real-politik as her new country’s future hangs in the balance.
For Thebes read Liberia, for Athens the Western World. Welcome to Thebes takes some getting into – using Greek Mythology to explore corruption, the birth of democracy, gender rights and the patronising view the west has of developing countries does not always make easy watching. Buffini and Eyre however have combined perfectly to create a play that is thought-provoking, sensitive, sinister and, at times, hilarious. The real tragedy were the empty seats – so, if you find yourself at a loose end one evening why not have a stroll along the Southbank and take in this beautiful play?
Welcome to Thebes runs until 18th August at The National Theatre http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/