Iphigenia 2.0

 

 

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Iphigemia 2.0

Directed by David Kersnar

At Next Theatre, Evanston

Enticing ant-war tragedy unfolds as a fast-paced theatrical event

Under director David Kersnar’s energetic direction, Charles Mee’s updated take on the Greek tragedy of Iphigenia unfolds as an exuberant and dynamic re-telling highlighted by the synchronized marching, military-styled movements and high-energy dances by the Four  Soldiers: Luce Metrius, Erik Strebig, Wesley Daniel and  Max Fabian. In Mee’s re-telling, the message that many wars are based on lies and misconceptions comes across loud and clear.  From Agamemnon’s (Aaron Todd Douglas) opening speech and the subsequent reminder from General Menelaus (Ricardo Gutierrez) that a leader must be willing to sacrifice one close to him if he is asking his soldiers to die for him in battle. Agamemnon agrees, at first, to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to reinforce his leadership position. But when his wife Clytemnestra (Laura T. Fisher) scolds him for his promise to the troops, Agamemnon recants.

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Iphigenia (Rebecca Buller) arrives at the army camp thinking that she is to marry Achilles (Nick Vidal) but fate has another destiny for her. Clytemnestra appeals to Achilles to thwart the plan to sacrifice Iphigenia promising Achilles “anything he wants.”

charles Mee

This 80 minute tragedy is filled with inspired  energetic spirits form the youthful soldiers and Iphigenia and her two bridesmaids: Alexa Ray Meyers and Ariella Marchioni. The sexual urges between the girls and the boy soldiers allowed for some sensual scenes and dances. Anthony Kayer (Man) is the mostly quiet Arab servant who serves as the conscious of the play. While the main characters were played well, the real stars of this production are the four soldiers each of whom echo the soldiers mentality with verve and manic movements.

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Iphigenia 2.0 is a interesting, effective and most engaging production that vividly uses the power of the live stage to get its ant-war message across. Staging it in contemporary times reminds us that we still have not learned the lessons of leadership and the motivations for going to war. As Achilles states: “What chance can an empire have if its actions are to be based on lies and imaginings?”  Mee thinks we have not learned from history.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2012

For more info checkout the Iphigenia 2.0 page at theatreinchicago.com

At Next Theatre,  at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL, call 847-475-1875, www.nexttheatre.org, tickets $30 – $40, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2pm, running time is 80 minutes without intermission, through October 14, 2012