Thursday September 21st 2017

“Electra” Reviewed by Carol Moore

electra-badnews Highly Recommended **** I didn’t expect to be spellbound by “Electra”!  Court Theatre’s riveting interpretation of the Greek tragedy blew me away.  Talk about a dysfunctional family!  It does make for great drama, though.   I give “Electra” 4 Spotlights.

 

The Court is quite possibly the only theater in Chicago which could/would produce a trilogy of Greek tragedies over the course of three seasons.  “Electra” is the final play in a trilogy of Greek tragedies – all about Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and their family –beginning with “Iphigenia in Aulis” in 2014, “Agamemnon” in 2015, and finally “Electra”.

 

The Court’s trilogy is unique in that if a character appeared in more than one of the tragedies, the same actor playing that character didn’t change.  Sandra Marquez, who plays Clytemnestra, is the only actor who has been in all three productions.  Mark Montgomery played Agamemnon in the first two.  Aegisthus (Michael Pogue) helped Clytemnestra murder Agamemnon in the second play, then moved in with Clytemnestra in the third.

 

Kate Fry’s Electra was magnificent in her grief.  She’s been carrying this burden ever since her mother murdered her father.  She wastes no opportunity to guilt trip Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, who’ve been locking her up in the house for months at a time.  Today, her mother inexplicably let her out, so she’s doing her weeping and wailing on the front veranda.  She’s also yearning for her brother, Orestes, to come home and claim his inheritance – by killing the usurper, Aegisthus. electraorestes

 

Clytemnestra, on the other hand, is fed up.  She never got over Iphigenia’s death and what she sees as Agamemnon’s betrayal.  She loves her other children, but she wants to live her life.

 

Chrysothemis (Emjoy Gavino), Electra’s sister, is an appeaser.  She wants peace, so she pretty much does what she’s told.  On the other hand, she maintains a loving relationship with her sister.  When Clytemnestra sends her to put an offering on Agamemnon’s grave, she destroys it, substituting one from herself and Electra.

 

When Orestes (Thomas J. Cox), tired and battle-scarred, dreads going home because he knows he’s going to have to kill his mother and her lover.  Before he returns then, he sends a friend, Paedogogus (Dexter Zollicoffer), ahead.  When Paedogogus tells Clytemnestra that Orestes is dead, she invites him in for a celebratory meal.  When Electra hears the news, she feels abandoned by the fates until Orestes reveals himself to her.

 

The requisite Greek chorus – Caren Blackmore, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel and Tracy Walsh – interact with Electra only with Electra and Chrysothemis.

 

The set, a long row of rather dingy white louvered door/windows, with crystal chandeliers peaking through reminded me of the veranda of a Southern mansion with Spanish moss hanging everywhere.

 

“Electra” runs through December 11th at the Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago.

Running time is 90 minutes, no intermission.

Performances are:

electraclytemnestraWednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm.

Friday at 8:00 pm

Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00 pm

Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30 pm.

Parking is free in the garage next door to the Court – take a ticket to enter but the gate stays up for 30 minutes after the performance.  Tickets range from $48-$68.  FYI (773) 753-4472 or www.CourtTheatre.org.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Electra”

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