Conceived and Directed by ANDREA ARDEN
Based on THE ORESTEIA by Aeschylus
American Theatre of Actors Chernuchin Theater, 314 W. 54 St., NYC
March 3 – 18, 2006
Scenic Design JEREMY C. DOUCETTE
Lighting Design MICHAEL A. REESE
Costume Design NIKI HERNANDEZ-ADAMS
Sound Designer/Video Director ALEXANDER BRUEHL
Stage Manager JESSICA PECHARSKY
Publicity ADAM KLASFELD
(in order of appearance)
Iphigenia – Jill Blythe Riemer
Orestes – Bashir Solebo
Electra – Jennifer Donlin
Zeus – Kristofer Updike
Clytemnestra – Bess Richardson
Hecuba – Amy Clites
Cassandra – Susan Schuld
Athena/Helen of Troy – Yvette Feuer
Agamemnon – Travis Stroessenreuther
Menelaus – Scott Giguere
Cyrus – Patrick Hogan
Aegisthus – Jason Updike
WRECKED is the result of the ambitious attempt to fuse THE ORESTEIA and THE TROJAN WOMEN, with several other Greek plays serving as connecting points. At the heart of things, Orestes is on trial for matricide, but this play evolves through a series of non-linear incidents, with different points in time being interwoven and even coexisting onstage to make a larger point. In killing Clytemnestra, Orestes has continued a long family history of murder and retribution. What WRECKED examines is the struggle of the various characters, and what it takes to, perhaps, end the cycle of violence.
Amidst the rage and tragedy that defines the WRECKED universe, there is a wickedly fun interpretation of Zeus as a smarmy, lounging deity who manipulates mortals and demigods alike with the slightest of gestures, only to sit back smoking as war, murder and destruction overcomes the landscape. Presiding over Orestes’ trial, Athena appears only as a mouth in live action projections that loom over the stage. Interesting, and again, emphasizing the sense of supernatural control. Down on the ground, the women have the meatiest roles. There is the tormented Cassandra, Queens Clytemnestra and Hecuba, the doomed Iphigenia, the distraught Electra, and Helen, who had a little something to do with the Trojan War.
The entire design suggests the ruins of a city, but it never overwhelms, though the scenes are non-stop. The women walk in soiled slips, and the periphery of the set hints at the structures that once stood. Again utilizing overhead projections, the images ranged from buildings in ruin to live images from the production of WRECKED in progress.
WRECKED is clearly a work that was created by people who love the source material for people who love the source material. So, if you go in, say, unaware of the source of Cassandra’s frustration, you can still enjoy the play, but you would be missing something crucial. I liked it!
- Kessa De Santis -