Director Lydia Koniordou chose a 19th century Greek setting for the National Theater’s new production of Euripides’ «Ion,» to open unofficially this Saturday in Delphi. Ion, son of Apollo and Creusa, is abandoned at birth and brought up in a temple. His mother marries Xuthus, the king of Athens, but the couple is childless and asks the oracle at Delphi for help. When the god convinces Xuthus that Ion is his son, Creusa attempts to poison the child she sees as an usurper, yet the intervention of Athena averts further tragedy. «There are many similarities between the time when the play was written, and early 19th century in Greece,» Koniordou said Monday, explaining her decision to the press. «Both were marked by the clash of ideas, intense questioning and the overthrow of old ways of thinking. We wanted to distance the play sufficiently from the present to gain some perspective on the mechanisms and mentality of the time.» Describing «Ion» as one of Euripides’ most ambivalent works, Koniordou, who plays the part of Creusa, pointed out the play’s contemporary relevance: «The way in which the acquisition of power can lead to the loss of virtue, or how the victim can become a perpetrator, as well as the theme of the foreigner or outsider, are matters that affect us today.» The production, which opens officially in Epidaurus on August 15 after touring, uses a new translation by Nikoletta Frintzila. The cast includes Dimitris Economou (Hermes), Christos Loulis (Ion) and Nikos Karathanos (Xuthus). Sets and costumes are by Dionysis Fotopoulos, with music by Takis Farazis and choreography by Apostolia Papadamaki.