Iphigenia and Other Daughters | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Iphigenia and Other Daughters 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

IPHIGENIA AND OTHER DAUGHTERS, Greasy Joan & Company, at Griffin Theatre. As Jean Anouilh has shown, it takes above-average intelligence to give ancient Greek myth a contemporary sensibility and not end up with cheap shtick. Greasy Joan makes an admirable stab with Ellen McLaughlin's Iphigenia and Other Daughters, a quasi-feminist rehashing of the House of Atreus slaughterfest. Director Brad Shelton casts a savvy spell, finding sad comedy in the spectacle of parents and children stewing in murderous contempt for one another. Electra is portrayed as a quivering, one-note lunatic, but Shelton elicits rich and troubling performances from the rest of his cast. Even in their most debased moments--Clytemnestra indifferent to news of her son's death but despondent over the death of his horse, for example--these characters are pathetic rather than contemptible.

But all this intelligence is in the service of a rather dim-witted script, which states and restates the obvious without creating much dramatic urgency. Rather than write a play, McLaughlin strings together lyrical declarations; her characters mouth philosophy more often than they make meaningful choices. McLaughlin has historical-revisionist pretensions (a curious stance when dealing in myth), but her big insight is that men make history while women sit at home--an idea too cliched and simplistic to support 90 minutes of stage time. --Justin Hayford


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Justin Hayford

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Love and Information Trap Door Theatre
September 12
Performing Arts
The Great Leap Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre
September 05

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories