21 February 2008

Theatre Roundup: Argonautika

A few days ago we hit the Shakespeare Theatre for their production of Argonautika, a retelling of Jason and the Argonauts that's lively and inventive. Like many modern productions that are serious but don't take themselves too seriously, the influence of Brecht is occasionally felt, both in the stage props that don't even try to pretend to be anything but props (the models of the Argo are like Spinal Tap's Stonehenge...) and in the direct address to the audience. A particular moment of levity mixed with theme comes through towards the end when Hera and Athena change Medea's dress: Hera comments that the dress has a zipper and is therefore not very historically accurate, after which Athena chastises her for being so literal, telling her that if you're too literal you "miss so much."

As a retelling of one of the classic tales of ancient mythology, you're dealing with an audience that knows most of the story, and playwright and director Mary Zimmerman picks and chooses the episodes she wishes to bring to life, and a good bit of the carnage is toned-down (Medea and Jason don't chop Medea's brother into bits and toss him overboard to dealy Aeetes, for instance).

Try to catch it if you can. You'll love the Argonauts' roll call (and no it's not like MST3K's "Robot Roll Call").

1 comment:

Washington Cube said...

I always enjoy going to The Folger. I usually try to go there at Christmas to hear their holiday music. As for Mystery Science Theatre 3000...what can I say. I miss it and those snide asides.