Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Electra, again

When I first started this blog, I mentioned in an early post a staging of Elektra in Singapore. I was able to attend another during the recent Singapore Arts Festival, this one by a Japanese troupe, The Suzuki Company of Toga, that included some Korean actors. It was quite a breathtaking performance.

The staging of Electra this time around was set in a mental hospital. It turned out to be an appropriate enough setting. I loved how it emphasized the wounded nature of all of the characters. Electra's own inability to speak was very thought-provoking, as was the projection of her thoughts by use of the wheelchair-bound chorus. The chorus was, in fact, one of my three favorite parts of the show, the others being the percussionist (Midori Takada) and Clymenestra. And I have to say that they really stole the show.

Clymenestra, played by Chieko Naito, first came onstage standing atop her wheelchair, as if riding a chariot. Even in her wounded state, she was proud and unbending. She was powerful, evocative, and sometimes funny. I really found her performance moving, even though I don't understand Japanese at all.

The choreography of the piece was amazing, and it was the percussion that really tied it all together. There was a good blend of the sort of frenzy that Electra played almost without stopping, and a quieter, more subtle force. It was amazing to watch the performance.

It seems that Electra can't miss with me. And I especially love these sorts of adaptations that take the play in creative directions. I will be looking forward to the next time it is staged in Singapore. And, for that matter, won't want to miss anything the Suzuki Company brings our way either.

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