The Revolutionary Intertextuality of Molora by Yäel Farber
This article focuses on the challenging intertextual phenomenology characterising the play Molora by South African playwright and director of international acclaim Yäel Farber. Premiered in Grahamstown in 2003, and published in 2008 after award-winning national and international tours, Molora is a radical adaptation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia. It dramatises the challenges faced by South Africa in the highly-charged post-Apartheid aftermath, through dramatic confrontations between Klytemnestra, Elektra, and Orestes echoing the testimonies delivered by perpetrators and victims on the TRC’s ‘stage’, and through a chorus made up of seven Xhosa matriarchs belonging to the Ngquoko split-tone singers, who witness, comment on and significantly participate in the play’s action. Molora’s complex intertextual construction and dynamic are shown to call for a hermeneutical approach careful to avoid simplifying presentifications, as well as any possible fracture with extratextuality. Intertextuality, in fact, is here given the task to creatively and syncretically combine the ancient Greek text with the indigenous Xhosa text through a process of transcultural imbrication that, from beginning to end, exudes the tragedies of all-too-present history while instantiating a revolutionary use of memory.