I have just returned from holiday in Turkey with an archaeological group. We visited a number of classical sites: some famous, like Troy and Ephesus, others little visited, like the ruined city of Priene nestling on a wooded hillside overlooking the river Mæander. I was asked to read an extract from Euripides’ Agamemnon in the theatre there. Greek theatres have fantastic acoustics – guides often demonstrate this by sending visitors up to the top whilst they remain centre stage. They then light a match - and you can hear it clearly. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity.
The group scattered about the theatre. I drew a deep breath, told myself that this was for Euripides – a playwright I much admire – and walked onto the stage.
I launched into a paean of victory: I proclaimed, triumphantly – with suitable gestures - that Paris was dead, Hector was slain, and Troy was totally destroyed. Agamemnon, King of Men, the son of Atreus, was victorious! (Boasting was obviously part of the herald’s job description.)
Then came my big speech. I raised my arms to heaven and called on Zeus, Apollo and Hermes to hear me. (I could hear my words ring round the theatre in such a way that I half-expected a thunderbolt from Olympus.) I ended with an exhortation: Welcome Agamemnon! Welcome the victor home!
You could have heard a pin drop. It was hugely satisfying.