Review: ‘Elektra’

Those expecting fast-paced action will be lost in Sophocles' "Elektra," but this version, directed by James Burke from a translation by Ezra Pound and Rudd Flemming, gives a kind of Peter Sellars vision to the 2,400-year-old script.

Those expecting fast-paced action will be lost in Sophocles’ “Elektra,” but this version, directed by James Burke from a translation by Ezra Pound and Rudd Flemming, gives a kind of Peter Sellars vision to the 2,400-year-old script.

Agamemnon, King of Argos, has sacrificed daughter Iphigenia to the gods in order to acquire winds to sail to the Trojan War; his enraged wife and her lover Aegisthus killed Agamemnon.

Now Elektra (Jenette Goldstein) fights to keep the memory of her father alive and wants to kill her mother, Klytemnestra (Janet Carroll). She must wait for her brother, Orestes (Reg E. Cathey), to return. Her sister Chrysothemis (Jessica Hecht) waffles between helping and not.

The chorus (Irene Wiley and Brioni Farrell) in this version act as servants; one speaks English, the other ancient Greek.

Pound and Flemming created a more contemporary take on the House of Atreus. They made Orestes cowboy-like and infused the tale with such humor-aimed anachronisms as Klytemnestra saying, “I am not peeved for what I have done.”

Director Burke pushes this notion further, such as making Elektra look homeless, lying beneath an orange-cord utility light. Orestes’ tutor (Kedric Wolfe) comes across as an Iowa farmer. Mother and sister wear cocktail dresses (costume design by Bonnie Stauch).

On the impressive side is the cast, all of whom take Sophocles seriously. Ed Haynes’ set design also delights, particularly his fountain pedestal where Elektra builds a memorial to her father.

“Elektra” is presented in the newly restored Ivy Substation, a nearly $2 million refurbishing of a cable-car power plant that was abandoned in 1953 on the edge of Culver City. It’s a glorious and spacious setting.

Lighting by Charlie Otte, a massive effort for a large stage not designed as a theater, reinforces the play’s drama well.

Elektra

Ivy Substation, Culver City; 99 seats; $15 top

Production

Random Shot Prods. presents a Greek tragedy in one act by Sophocles, translated by Ezra Pound and Rudd Flemming; director, James Burke; producers, Gary Grossman, Scott Disharoon.

Creative

Set design, Ed Haynes; lighting, Charlie Otte; costumes, Bonnie Stauch; composer, Gary Stockdale; movement direction, Christine Sang; casting, April Webster. Opened, reviewed Feb. 12, 1994; runs through March 6.

Cast

Elektra - Jenette Goldstein
Klytemnestra - Janet Carroll
Orestes - Reg E. Cathey
Chrysothemis - Jessica Hecht
Aegisthus - John Vargas
Tutor - Kedric Wolfe
Chorus woman - Irene Wiley
Chorus woman - Brioni Farrell
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Legit News from Variety

Loading