An electronic chamber opera
by Jacob Suske & Ann Cotten
director & music: Jacob Suske

Premiere  December 31, 2017

Can the clockwork of hatred and revenge still be stopped? Jacob Suske and Ann Cotten interrogate the entanglements of love and power of a dysfunctional family in their electronic chamber opera.
Unlike any other character, Electra is the object of contradictory stories. She appears for the first time in Homer’s „Iliad“, followed by appearances in Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Hofmannsthal, Strauss, Hauptmann, O’Neill, Sartre. The most diverse authors have proceeded into the deep tunnel of this curse laden family history looking for new insights and interpretations and questioning their realities in the mirror of the ancient myth.The portrayal of Electra oscillates between resigned heroine, jealous rival of her mother, naive instigator and honest fighter for justice and homeland. Electra, Agamemnon’s daughter, old warhorse and conqueror of Troy, daughter of the nimble Clytemnestra: She is the link in a chain of internal family murder cases.
Clytemnestra’s hatred for Agamemnon doesn’t seem to be unjustified since he kills her husband as well as the son before he marries her in the end. Besides from the children Iphigenia, Chrysothemis, Electra and Orest, that result from the marriage, the forced marriage secures the throne of Mycenae for Agamemnon.Yet the power politician has bigger ambitions: He sets off for Troy in order to hoist the Greek flag in this town. Yet a leaden calm thwarts the trip. The Gods of the wind want to see blood. And so Agamemnon sacrifices his oldest daughter Iphigenia: He sacrifices his family on the altar of politics. The wind returns and with it the glorious success in the battle. The deeply hurt Clytemnestra meanwhile uses the ten years absence of her husband to establish new power structures. She henceforth shares bed and throne with Agamemnon’s cousin Aegisthus. Aegisthus has a bloody score to settle with Agamemnon’s family, the Atrides. The curse of the Atrides is based on the fraternal feud between Atreus and Thyestes, the grandfathers of Agamemnon and Aegisthus, and leaves a bloody trace from generation to generation. When Agamemnon returns from the war, the table is set and revenge is on the menu. The machinery of hatred and revenge is running unstoppably…
Ann Cotten oscillates with delight between historical myth and present time and focuses on the ideologies behind the actions of the characters. She examines the consequences of long sown hatred and violent words. As starting point Cotten chooses Euripides‘ Electra version. It’s the only one where Electra herself becomes a murderer. Years have passed since the murder of Agamemnon. At her mother’s behest Electra lives far away from all family conflicts, married to a peasant, and bears it with patience, devotion and controlled anger. Her brother Orest was sent into exile when he was still a child. Yet Electra’s belief in the inner justification of her hatred has not expired. She also doesn’t want to bury the demand for power an privileges. Years go by and meanwhile Clytemnestra and Aegisthus make Mycenae bloom in an unforeseen way. They take care of social justice, pursue peaceful politics – and keep the children away from throne and power claims. It seems that the way is clear for a peaceful and prospering era although based on a highly controversial ethical foundation. Yet when Orest returns one day as a Harvard educated, neo-liberal entrepreneur from the American exile and suddenly stands in front of Electra, all dams break. The time for Electra’s reactionary revolution seems to have come…
The lyricist Ann Cotten was born in Iowa in 1982 and grew up in Vienna. She has so far published the books of poems „Fremdwörterbuchsonette“ (2007), „Florida-Räume“ (2011) and „Der schaudernde Fächer“ (2013) for which she was celebrated for example by SPIEGEL as „most advanced German language lyricist of our time“. Her literary work is not only appreciated within the literature scene, but also within visual arts and literary studies and was recently awarded with Klopstock-Preis and Ernst-Bloch-Förderpreis. In 2016 she was nominated for her latest work, the verse epos „Verbannt!“ for the Austrian Buchpreis.
Jacob Suske has been working as musician and dramaturg at Schauspielhaus Vienna since 2015. „Electra“ is his first work as director in Vienna. In 2015 he developed the format of „electronic chamber opera“ at Theater Luzern beginning with „Orpheus. Factory“.
The music is electronic, the singers are ensemble members of Schauspielhaus. Pathos is a legitimate mean and a one-woman-orchestra is sitting in the orchestra pit (live electronics: Mirella Kassowitz).

Due to directorial reasons we are unable to offer English surtitles for our production „Elektra – was ist das für 1 Morgen“. In order to make understanding the production easier, we would like to offer a printed English translation of the text to our foreign language guests. You may pick it up for free at the box office alternatively we can email it to you in advance. We apologise for any inconvenience and wish you a delightful visit at Schauspielhaus.



Cast: Jesse Inman, Sophia Löffler, Vassilissa Reznikoff, Sebastian Schindegger
&: Mirella Kassowitz
Author: Ann Cotten, Jacob Suske
Directed by: Jacob Suske
Stage & Costumes: Patricia Ghijsens
Music: Jacob Suske
Correpetition: Ryan Carpenter
Video: Tim Hupfauer
Light: Oliver Mathias Kratochwill
Light Installation: Samuel Schaab
Dramaturgy: Anna Laner
Regieassistenz: Gabriel Zschache


Jakob Suske (Musik und Regie) und Ann Cotten (Text) schufen das Kunststück, das familiäre Generationendrama der Tantaliden in einer elektronischen Kammeroper unverkrampft, jung, modern und mit jeder Menge Witz zu präsentieren.“ European Cultural News

"Nun wird klar, dass das Schauspielhaus-Team wie immer klug im Klamauk eine Aussage zur Lage der Nation getroffen hat. „Elektra – Was ist das für 1 Morgen?“ ist ein Spiel um Ideologien, um Rechts- und Staatsutopien; Ann Cotten legt den Finger in die Wunde ökonomischer Mechaniken und analysiert deren Werden, Wirken und Wert." Mottingers Meinung

Suske und Cotten zeichnen ihre Protagonisten mit hoher Selbstironie und nehmen ihre Figuren dennoch ernst - ein Ansatz, der sich auch in der von Patricia Ghijsens gestalteten Bühne niederschlägt, die an die Urlaubsstimmung einer griechischen Insel gemahnt.“ APA - Austria Presse Agentur

Elektra (Sophia Löffler) hat eine florierende, wenn auch einsame Landwirtschaft. Dort wird sie von ihrem Bruder (Jesse Inman) angetroffen, der seine Verbannung in den USA verbracht hat und dort so eine Art schmieriger, aber harmloser Gebrauchtwagenverkäufer-Staubsaugervertretter-Personalabbauberater-Typ geworden ist.“ Wiener Zeitung

Die Geschwister planen den Muttermord, doch Ägisth erwischt Orest, als der sich mit der Axt anschleicht. Dass daraufhin erst einmal gemeinsam gefrühstückt wird, liefert den witzigsten Moment dieses Abends“

In Mykene hat buchstäblich jede Schnapsidee Platz.DER STANDARD

"Ein Abend, der begeistert staunen lässt und viel kritischen Gesprächsstoff über Macht und Ohnmacht eines Lebens wie einer sich stetig verändernden und doch in vielem spiegelgleichen abgründigen Welt bietet." literaturoutdoors