UCSC Mainstage Production
Directed by Danny Scheie
Adapted by Mary-Kay Gamel
Orestes Terrorist by Didaskalia
"This is a high energy, action-packed, anarchic, deliberately messy and pacey Orestes, where the youthful chorus steal the show with their punk-style irreverence, insouciance and vibrancy. Three chorus members (Zackary Forcum, Areyla Moss-Maguire and Jenna Purcell) were responsible for the choreography – quite some feat that paid off particularly well in the parodos, where the Furies (absent in Euripides) are physically present and truly terrifying in their assault on Orestes, from below, above and around, as he is ensnared on the bottom bed of a battered bunk bed. What contributes most to the energy of the piece is the highly creative use of the stage space: just before the magnificent aerial appearance of Apollo and the scintillating Helen (played by the stunningly beautiful and plausibly devastating, callous, and uncaring Brie Michaud), the transmogrified, frenzied trio of Elektra, Orestes and Pylades, with Hermione as hostage held at knife point, fall into the wire mesh that shields the lighting gantry over the audience’s heads. These terrorists could literally blow the roof off the building; or, worse, fall on top of the audience, taking us down with them."
UCSC brings spice to Greek tragedy 'Orestes Terrorist'
"Sheie has made a choice to have his characters mirrored by their furniture. Orestes and Elektra are children, very disturbed by the murder of their mother that they recently committed. They are fretfully caged in their beds from the moment the doors of the theater open. Other characters are defined by their chairs: The chorus gets to do some slutty, Fosse-esque choreography on their armless chairs, self-absorbed Apollo reclines in a chaise longue, perking up at any mention of his name. Menelaos is the epitome of attorney/politician in a rolling/rotating office chair, and the father of the slain woman, grandfather to Orestes and Elektra, is portrayed as a right-wing party-line-spouting Bush clone, with a Texas accent and cowboy hat, seated in a duct-taped patched leather easy chair.
This is a tragedy, but it is a Danny Scheie tragedy. Be ready for laughs, cross-gendering, cross-dressing and detours into modern media idiocy and television sit-coms. The Greek chorus is an assortment of punk furies, schoolgirls, cheerleaders, bell boys, nurses and maids, all of every gender one can imagine. Helen's two eunuch slaves Trojan weirdos" nearly steal the show in an aria/ballet number of which I couldn't understand a word, it being sung in falsetto, but it didn't matter. Hilarious!"