Will Power's hip-hop take on Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes is a "remix," combining the original with a contemporary flip. Both worlds exist simultaneously. Thus Oedipus is the blind Theban and an "original gangsta" (a choice that lessens his gravitas). Oedipus curses his sons, Eteocles and Polynices, to war against each other. Will they break their 24/7 got-your-back loyalty? Will today's youth break the cycle of violence? As the brothers, Benton Greene and Jamyl Dobson are outstanding. They move as if in two eras at once: the stylized ritual of Theban royalty and the free-flow of today (their epic single combat, choreographed by Bill T. Jones, also combines both). Most significant: they reach the emotional core of Aeschylus's play: a hunger for hatred (in one of the production's most arresting scenes, Eteocles imagines an endless chain of curses, beginning with the giant shadow of Oedipus's father, Laius, choking his son, and down to today). Under Jo Bonney's direction, The Seven moves at such a relentless pace it almost does a disservice to Power's rich language and rocket rhymes. But information overload, which here includes dazzling onstage visuals and music, is part of a remix aesthetic. Like the DJ (Chinasa Ogbugagu) who flips an old recording of the play into a new form, you must find your way, connect when you can. If you go to The Seven with fixed notions of what musicals must do, it will disappoint. A stately Carousel it isn't. But if you bring a willingness to let it happen - to go where the play takes you - it could surprise.
Worth a try.
Ongoing until Sunday, March 16, 2008
|Sundays, 2pm & 7pm|
|Saturdays, 2pm & 8pm|