Who is to Blame? What is the Truth? Could it be Otherwise? When theatre began, two and a half millennia ago in ancient Greece, it drew from a well of even older myths, the Great Epic Cycle. These myths were Europe's first image of the tragedy and comedy of the human enterprise. Stories and characters from the beginning of our imagination inspired John Barton to write the great cycle of human life Tantalus, an epic theatre myth for the new millennium. Helen of Troy - was she really the cause of this ten-year war? Agamemnon's anguish - did he have to kill his daughter to start the war? Clytemnestra - was her murderous revenge justified? A wooden horse - how can it destroy a great city? Heroes humbled, children hurt, mothers and fathers bereaved, entire nations shaken and rebuilt: all pass through this kaleidoscope of human fate.
John Barton is a writer and director who, with Peter Hall, co-founded the Royal Shakespeare Company, where Barton was an active director for over forty years. His landmark productions included Twelfth Night with Judi Dench as Viola, and a sequence of Shakespeare's History Plays (with Peter Hall). A prolific writer and adaptor, he has spent over 30 years developing Tantalus, which is an extension of his earlier work, The Greeks (1980). He has adapted some twenty other texts for the theatre and has also had published The First Stage, The Hollow Crown, The Wars of the Roses, The Greeks, La Ronde, The Rover and the legendary Playing Shakespeare (also a television series).