27 Feb – 24 March, 2018
Directed by John Ward
The DumbWise Theatre Company has reinvented Electra. It’s unexpected and wild at times but it’s a beautiful production and something you can get behind.
The plot surrounds the murder of Agamemnon, the King of Argos by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. After his upheaval, the two living children of Agamenon, Electra and Orestes fray into the background of Aegisthus’ rule. 10 years pass and we learn that Clytemnestra has subjugated Electra under her wiry fingers and before the upheaval, Electra smuggled her younger brother out of the city. This is where it picks up for us with Orestes on the edge of the world and Electra being tormented by her would-be father and tyrant mother.
The two act play is a long ride from here on out and the individual performances are a spectacle because of this. I was really interested in Dario Coates as Orestes. He was wet with passion for the whole two and half hour runtime. And Sian Martin is terrifying as Clytemnestra. She had two scenes in particular where she was being interviewed by a news anchor and we, the audience, play the role of the people of Argos witnessing her speak about Agamemnon and Orestes for the first time. Martin oozed her way out of dangerous questions and played her sovereign role with an effortless confidence. But there was an unnerving sense that at each moment, she was draped with the fear of Orestes shadow. It was really beautiful to watch as an aspiring actor myself. This action was broken up by intermittent moments of punk rock to clarify scene changes or climactic moments.
The stage was fairly scarce apart from the instruments upstage. Neon lights lined the back wall and would change colour depending on the feeling of the scene. Brutal moments were highlight by a red glow and calmer parts were washed with blue.
Matt brewer who played Aegisthus was another actor to mention. Aegisthus’ growing frustration dread as the supports of his power crumble shone through clearly. Lydia Larson who played Electra was also wonderful to watch. The moments where she let out her pent up hatred were immensely powerful.
John Ward has directed something both beautiful but intense and primal at the same time. You feel the Greek earth under the feet of Orestes as he stands off with Aegisthus and you hear the Greek wind sweep you along as characters cry out in pain.