The Saga Collectif presents:
IPHIGENIA AND THE FURIES (ON TAURIAN LAND)
Written by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho)
Directed by Jonathan Seinen
Assistant Director Jay Northcott
Dramaturge Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
Featuring: Augusto Bitter, Virgilia Griffith, Thomas Olajide, PJ Prudat
Presented at the Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street Easts
From the company that brought you the Dora-nominated hit, Black Boys, this contemporary take on the Greek classical play by Euripides is a welcome remedy to some of the other re-tellings of ancient Greek myth that have been offered up recently, most notably the Shaw Festival’s over bloated and outrageously priced Mythos: Gods, Heroes, Men written and adapted for the stage by Stephen Fry this past season.
Ho Ka Kei’s retelling of the sad events around the fall of the House of Atreus eschews puerile humor in favor of a straightforward account of the events of the day along with the emotions and interactions that drive the story forward. Which is not to say that the script is not funny. It’s very funny in parts because it depends on the interaction of real characters on stage rather than a description of events in hindsight from the perspective of a man sitting in a chair on a big stage with a large sign behind him.
I won’t go into the twists and turns of the plot here – it’s easily obtainable. What is most welcome is how Ho Ka Kei’s script represents homo erotic desire as essential to the storyline. What a revelation – homosexuality in ancient Greece! Orestes (Thomas Olajide) and Pylades (Augusto Bitter) believably portray the affectionate interplay that only comes from two members of the same family who have known and loved each other since childhood. When the ultimate recognition comes between the two of them and Iphigenia (Virgilia Griffith in a strong performance that casts a cynical eye on almost everyone) the die is cast. PJ Prudat as Chorus is the foil who constantly reminds us that things are not going to end well and that we have been through these tragic hardships many, many times before.
Christine Urquhart has provided a lovely set with period costumes that support the playwright’s intentions while Jareth Li has done the same in lighting this dark tale of woe.