After he was shot in the pelvis at the Battle of the Somme, future Tory PM Harold Macmillan simply rolled himself into a slit-trench and proceeded to read the works of Aeschylus in the original language. Classical mythology was so profoundly ingrained in the minds of Britain’s imperial administrators that they’d have recourse to it for advice, inspiration and consolation. And so in the second instalment of the Bunker Trilogy – an adaptation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon – an injured soldier’s guilty conscience finds expression in the form of a Greek tragedy.
Like the previous show, Morgana, this play uses the mythology with a liberal amount of poetic licence for their own ends, with original dialogue and a unique moulding of events. The injured soldier (a latter-day incarnation of the eponymous protagonist) is haunted by his infidelity, dreaming of his wife and cousin (Clytemnestra and Aegisthus) plotting his murder. Disjointed time, a feature of all three plays, reflects the hallucinatory nature of the brandy-palliated trauma. Easily the equal of its predecessor in imagination and creativity, the play also features an interesting look at the lives of those left at on home-front and their suffering, making it the ideal companion piece.