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Denebola » Article » South Stage’s newest show Electra-fies audiences
Arts and Entertainment

South Stage’s newest show Electra-fies audiences

By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Julia Sklar

The moment the doors to the lab theatre opened, the morbid and emotional quality of the sold-out production, Electra, radiated throughout the small black room.
The title character’s father, the famed Agamemnon, was brutally murdered by her mother, Clytemnestra, with the help of her mother’s love interest, Aegisthus, as revenge for her husband killing their daughter and Electra’s sister, Iphigeneia. Talk about complicated family dynamics.
The set, a white structure with ramps and a small balcony, towered to the ceiling. There were no intricate or whimsical details, but nonetheless it fit the play perfectly. The stage crew projected eerie, black and white, and for the most part, unrecognizable images onto the set. The crew used this effect for the opening of the show and at certain intervals throughout. Electra’s chorus of women, who acted as a single friend, a group of friends, and a conscience, entered and stood in formation while the images flashed like strobe lights.
Brooke Vanaman captured the essence of her character, Electra, roughly and emotionally. One would assume that after releasing so many wails about the tragic events in Electra’s life, Vanaman’s intensity would falter. In this case it was completely the opposite ‘€ the worse the news, the more painful Vanaman’s cries of horror sounded.
Her costume, made of bits of black fabric roughly sewn together as a long dress, reflected her deteriorating life. She also wore black boots and pale, streaked makeup.
Five actresses formed the Chorus of Women, a symbiotic group who finished each other’s sentences, moved together, fell together, but also had their own lines. The actresses Madeline Burrows, Akiyah Francis-John, Alexandra Lewis, Kendra Rouse, and Taryn Valley each brought a different level of depth to their portion of the character through individual facial expressions, body movements, and vocal intonations.
Electra’s mother, Clytemnestra, was accurately and cruelly portrayed by Alison Gifford. Referred to by Electra as “malignant, she wore a serpentine dark purple satin gown, a black velvet jacket with puffy sleeves and a Dracula collar, and black lace elbow-length gloves.
Other characters in the small cast of 12 develop throughout the performance. Madeline Schulman played Electra’s sister, Chrysothemis. She realistically portrayed the position of a girl stuck in a conflict between her sister and her parents.
Additionally, Electra’s brother Orestes, who is believed to be dead, is portrayed by Alex Caron. His posse of men includes Pylades, played by Tucker Bacon, and the servant, played by Mark Galinovsky.
Stephen Wu played the very last character to appear, the infamous Aegisthus. Wu perfectly exemplified how a pompous jerk would walk, effectively draining the audience of any sympathy that they could have had for him.
Electra ends with the climactic murders of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus per the request of Electra. Pylades and Orestes perform the murder backstage and return with disgustingly realistic fake blood dripping from their hands and onto the floor. Either Electra had an excellent effects team or Caron got carried away with his prop knife.
As a mark of triumph for the murder of the two malicious characters, Orestes wiped his blood stained hand along one of the white walls. As audience members filed out at the end of the show, this final image concluding the flawless performance was ingrained in their minds.

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