(Hedy Weiss’s article appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, 11/15.)
The ancient Greek playwrights didn’t fool around. They knew exactly what needed to be dealt with, and they did so head-on: the poisonous nature of war and its bitter fallout; the steep price of betrayal; the hunger for vengeance (a polite term, perhaps, for justice); how once a cycle of violence is set in motion, it will haunt generations to come.
Court Theatre’s stark but scorching new production of Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon” — the second in a trilogy of plays translated with clarity and poetry by Nicholas Rudall, directed with sinewy precision by Charles Newell, and produced over three seasons — is a fine example of the economy with which the Greek tragedians could work. It also is an example of how the ritualistic aspects of that ancient society can be made to feel thoroughly modern simply by remaining true to their essence.
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