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A CurtainUp Review
As Yet Thou Art Young and Rash


Why did you go to war in the first place? You ignored the gods, didnít you?—Theseus
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(L to R) Satya Bhabha (kneeling), Mary Neufeld (with guitar), Tina Shepard
(Photo: Hilary McHone)
After their astounding production of Faust, I was ready for great things from Target Margin Theaterís latest offering, As Yet Thou Art Young and Rash, their adaptation of Euripedesí The Suppliants. Unfortunately, the show is dreary, dull, and a little pretentious.

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.


As Yet Thou Art Young and Rash
Written by the company, based on Euripedesí The Suppliants and created in rehearsal based on seven existing translations and the original Greek
Directed by David Herskovits
Cast: Satya Bhabha, Mia Katigbak, Mary Neufeld, Tina Shepard, and Stephanie Weeks
Costume Design: Meredith Palin
Scenic Design: Susan Barras
Lighting Design: Juliet Chia
Sound Design:>Diana Konopka and Jane Shaw
Running Time: One hour and ten minutes, no intermission
Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street (corner of Broome); 212-352-3101
From 1/09/07 to 2/3/07
Wed through Sun @ 7:30 pm, with special performances on Mon, Jan 22 @ 7:30 pm; Sat, Jan 27 @ 3 pm; and Sat, Feb 3 @ 3 pm
Tickets: $20

Reviewed by Jenny Sandman based on January 11 performance
broadway musicals: the 101 greatest shows of all time
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.


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