phillip and john
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A CurtainUp Review
As Yet Thou Art Young and Rash
Director David Herskovitsí heart is in the right place. In an attempt to make ancient Greek theater more accessible to modern audiences, he and his actors pieced together an hour-long revision of seven existing translations, as well as the original Greek. However, the result is little more than actors in sweatpants performing stiffly translated phrases in overly melodramatic fashion. Herskovits acknowledges that "no present-day theatrical convention of psychology or acting has anything to do with fifth-century Athens,"Ē and that Greek theatre expresses an "indelibly alien view of life." However, this production simply alienates the modern audience. It offers no way into the ancient text, and turns what could have been a deeply moving and relevant look at the aftermath of war into a farce.
Euripedesí original story — the wives and mothers of dead soldiers, clustered in the temple of Demeter, pleading for the bodies of their loved ones so they can be given a proper burial— is completely lost. This production bears almost no relation to that story. Most of the failure is due to a strange verbal experiment which has the actors inserting weird, drawn-out pauses into the lines and emphasizing the wrong words.
The play was created in rehearsal, and it still feels like a rehearsal. Thereís no polish, no sense of movement, story or character. The actors seem to be just wandering around, trying out different poses, speaking lines in various ways, pushing the spacial and textual envelope because thatís what actors do in rehearsal. Usually, though, this kind of behavior doesnít carry over into the performance. The result is almost likea Target Margin version of a Richard Foreman show full of strange, dissonant sound design, flares of bright light, disconnected actors and verbal weirdness.
The best part of the performance is a single moment when the actors quit goofing off and present a slide show of families and children, ostensibly to humanize the toll of war. But because thereís really nothing recognizably human about the rest of the play, even this part falls flat.
As Yet. . . is so especially disappointing because Target Margin is clearly capable of better. Since this is the kick-off for a season of Greek adaptations, we can only hope this one is not indicative of the rest.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide