Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
The Phoenician Women
Euripides's longest play performs revisionist history on Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes and Sophocles's Oedipus cycle. Exiled Polynices brings an army of Argives, to seven-gated Thebes, to battle his brother Eteocles, who worships tyranny as a god. Everyone, including a Greek chorus of Phoenician woman on their way to Delphi, suffers as a result. What Euripides supplies, missing in the originals, are the psychology and motives behind the decimation. Marianne McDonald's translation features crisp, interlaced dialogue and ranks among her finest. And the Theatre, Inc., production, visually at least, ranks among its. Actors in Middle Eastern dress perform before an ancient, concertina-wired wall bombarded by Scud missiles. The acting, however, is as divided as the brothers. Fred Harlow commands the stage as Tiresias and Oedipus, blind men who see clearly. Young Benjamin Shaffer, in a cameo as self-sacrificing Meneoceus, provides refreshingly clear speech. But many in the cast garble important lines: they talk to the floor, or mumble, or (especially the chorus) zip so fast that key information's lost.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, May 31, 2009
- Sundays, 2pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm