from Ambush Magazine (2003)
Review: Trodding The Boards [theatre and the arts] --
BloodReign: Orestes/Elektra in Remixed Collage
By Patrick Shannon, III (CrescentCityChronicles.net), theatre critic, Ambush Magazine, 12-25 August 2003 (vol 21, issue 6)
A recent production of a collage of passages translated from ancient Greek classics was produced with great effectiveness by Theatre Louisiane, at The Core Theatre in the State Palace Theatre at 1108 Canal St., New Orleans.
Theatre Louisiane is a fine and vibrant group of young actors who should receive more attendance and attention for their excellent efforts. Like most local theatre groups they are operating on a small budget but with a large amount of golden talents, no pun intended on the use of the word talents. These creative people can even turn the most archaic and high flown academic translations of great works from the ancient masters into an evening of understandable theatrical melodrama that connects with the emotions of tragic human experiences. Check out their web site and go see their shows. You will be impressed and entertained.
Their recent production of BloodReign: Orestes/Elektra in Remixed Collage was a cleverly conceived and connected script of translations from various works from Aeschylus' Oresteia: Libation Bearers, with bits from Sophokles' Elektra, and Euripides' Elektra.
There is no question that performing the roles of the great and tragic figures of early history from Greek playwrights can be a demanding situation for both the actors and the audiences. The translations of such works are usually done with good intentions by academics, but such translations more than often result in such stylized and unusually curious English as to make even the worst of Oscar Wilde's plays, Salome, appear to be something other than a piece of overblown hyperbolic trash. Making such language become an emotional vehicle for an actor requires only the highest of skills and techniques. There was no lack of such abilities in the cast of this production about the children of the Kings and Queens of the Mycenaean Akropolis (in the Peloponnesos of Greece about 1100 B. C. E., following the Trojan War).
In the role of Orestes, the exiled prince of Mycenae, John Tiliakos, enthralled the audience with his handsome and powerful stage presence. His ability to project his character's deep suffering was touching. Amy Woodruff, as Elektra, princess of Mycenae, was moving and dramatically powerful. It was awesome to see and feel such epic emotion and grand stage presence from so diminutive and lovely an actress. Joy Begnaud was a powerful and glorious Klytemnestra, queen of Mycenae, as she moved about the stage with the elegance, beauty, and grace of a panther let loose from a cage of sorrows only to find that freedom brings with it sorrows of its own.
The set was a simple arrangement of a throne, an altar, and a few artifacts suggesting the long ago past of the ancient Greeks. These set pieces were given a sacred and paganistic power by being placed on a bare stage before a simple black cyclorama. It was a fine low budget design resulting from the concerted efforts of this elegant cast with Blake Buchert, listed in the program for Set Construction. Effective and moody lighting was done by John Tiliakos, demonstrating another aspect of this fine actor’s theatrical abilities. Amy Woodruff also presented us with an example of her many talents as she was shown in the program for Costume Construction, a collection of flowing robes and simple tunic-like gowns worn by the performers with an unaffected charm and evocative of ancient strange pagan times.
This is the kind of theatre that true theatre lovers will enjoy more so than the run of the mill comedies and musicals more often done in local theatres. It is epic theatre in the grand sense of the word. As such, Theatre Louisiane did the local community a great service in taking on the daring and daunting task of bringing together a collage of classic moments with a chic touch, great energy, and deep emotional appeal. Not an easy thing to do with such works. They succeeded where few would have dared to venture.
originally published at: http://www.ambushmag.com/is1603/trod.htm/
to Woodruff's artist page | to Theatre Louisiane