PENTHESILEA | Sat 3 – Tue 6 Aug

Part of the Edinburgh International Festival 2024.


Internationaal Theater Amsterdam presents a visceral, sexy and grungy reinterpretation of an ancient love story with the medium of music.

Ferocious and emotionally charged, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam’s production of Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea is a powerful fusion of a rock concert and an ancient tragic love story.

Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, belongs to an all-female society of warriors, who can only have sex with men they have defeated on the battlefield. Locking eyes with the Greek army commander Achilles during battle in the Trojan War, Penthesilea falls in love at first sight and vows to defeat him. The star-crossed lovers wrestle between the demands of their war-faring societies and the wishes of their hearts.

Director Eline Arbo is renowned for breaking down boundaries. Her latest play defies gender convention, traditional staging and cultural norms, creating something frantic, thrilling and sensual.

After her critically acclaimed debut at the 2022 International Festival with The End of Eddy, Eline Arbo returns with ITA for this shocking, erotic retelling of von Kleist’s classic 1808 production, likened to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.

Eline Arbo turns a tragedy from 1808 into a sexy and toxic gem

Het Parool

The protagonists are not war heroes, but rock stars: Achilles and Penthesilea drag microphone stands across the stage, their silhouettes standing out against white smoke.