Friday, July 18, 2008

Yellow Electras

Chuck Mee would be proud of Peter A. Campbell's Yellow Electras, which patches together a series of existing adaptations, from the classic Greek dramas of Sophocles and Euripedes to the melodic Richard Strauss and Kandinsky operas. The buffet of styles buffets the viewer, with Peter Ksander's design stretching the three Electras (Genevieve De Galliande, Laura Heidinger, and Karen Rich) across three computer terminals, video conferenced up on one wall, while on the other, a chorus of sixteen girls look on, Brady Bunch style, through a series of digital boxes. This modernist approach is somewhat tacky, though aesthetically pleasing, but it's no surprise that the strongest segments--Rich's arias and Heidinger's violent breakdown--are grounded in physical presence rather than electronic transference. The collage, in itself, doesn't build up to anything--in fact, some of the snippets, which address acting itself, assert that "fragments, bits, and pieces do not give us a sense of the whole." What Yellow Electras does is illustrate a series of styles, a physical dramaturgy of Electra that will, unfortunately, largely be of service only to those who are readying themselves to adapt a Greek drama, and intermittently cool for the edgy theatergoer.

No comments: