Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iphigenia 2.0

photo: Carol Rosegg

Charles Mee's radical, theatrically exhilarating reinvention of Iphigenia is jagged, rough-edged, beautiful: it's like he's reassembled the shattered pieces of the myth in the aftermath of an explosion. The resulting collage is thematically and narratively coherent but full of jolting juxtapositions and violent cracks in tone: this is theatre that puts us on high alert and keeps us there. Mee's version of the wartime tragedy takes place in the world we live in now and the gods have next to nothing to do with it: it's now the soldiers, in American fatigues, who demand that Agamemnon sacrifice his daughter, reasoning that a leader should not ask his followers to risk sacrifices that he himself is unprepared to make. Many of Mee's other revisions are similarly systemic rather than cosmetic and fire missiles at our current-day culture. This bold, sensationally vivid production, currently in its final weeks at Signature Theatre, is both viscerally exciting and intellectually devastating. Don't miss it.

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