Index Top Bar
Index Sidebar

United Players of Vancouver

Iphegenia at Aulis
By Euripides | translated by Don Taylor

Director and set design Tom Kerr Costume Sabrina Evertt Lighting Michael Scriven Movement  Adam Henderson Stage Manager Vera Ha

Dates 27 January - 19 February 2006 Venue Jericho Arts Centre Reviewer Jane Penistan

Sarah Hollden-Boyd as Iphigenia; Photo: Doug Williams

To the trilling of panpipes, in an eerie light, the goat-legged god led his nymphs in a sinuous dance to open the classical play Iphegenia at Aulis.

In full light the tragedy unfolded, as the vacillating Agamemnon, harangued by his brother Menelaus, and afraid of deposition by a revolt of the massed forces of the Athenians, succumbed to the pressure. The fate of his daughter, Iphegenia and the young men of his armed forces were decided. Once again arrogance, desire for power, fear of shame and misplaced patriotism had committed the young and innocent to death and destruction.

Euripides wrote this anti-war play two and a half thousand years ago, but its message, as the director Tom Kerr says, "is as new as tomorrow."

Tom Kerr directed this powerful translation by English author Don Taylor, using the music from the original production in London in 2004. The movement of the choreography was flowing and simple, well within the compass of the chorus, who also spoke clearly and was even better when it sang. The costumes were timeless and the muted colours contrasted well with the vivid turquoise dress of Clytemnestra and of the drab army fatigues of the men.

Triangular, off-white tents draped the entrances to the circular playing area, which held a small mound of rock and broken column in its centre.

Glen Cairns sustained the long speeches of Agamemnon with strong voice, and presented a military figure. He was the leading man, in all senses. Dick Pugh was the old man, a wise and sympathetic character. As Menelaus, Mikal Grant was vocally and physically more than adequate, while Andrew Smith presented a conceited, self-centred, arrogant young man as Achilles. Outstanding was Chantal Ethier, the regal, elegant and all too human Clytemnestra. White clad Sarah Holden-Boyd’s Iphegenia’s youthful innocence was charming and refreshing, and her development into a morally responsible adult, who recognised and accepted her fate courageously, was work a much more experienced actress could have been proud of.

This is a sophisticated production of a very relevant Greek play in contemporary translation. The language is literate and rhythmical There is considerable thought and wisdom in this presentation, in all its aspects. This production is well worth seeing. If you only attend the theatre once in a while, this should be the one.

© 2006 Jane Penistan