5 March 2011: Sophocles, Ajax

Matinee. American Repertory Theatre. New translation by Charles Connaghan. Directed by Sarah Benson

I had trouble following this production and ended up with a view of it considerably more negative than that of my companions. I continue to believe that the most radical thing a director can do these days is to produce classical plays by setting them and costuming them in their own time and place. In the current political climate (political in the sense of theatre politics) there is little chance of this, owing to the overwhelming presence of the auteur, still, after decades and decades of solipsism and owing also to the likely view that such a production would be taken as mere mindless antiquarianism. But it seems to me the radical nature of such a step would make its own political statement. Perhaps from there we might venture toward an understanding of ancient history that could be enlightening for our own time and place.

In any case, the acting in this “new” approach was very fine, especially the actor playing the title character, Brent Harris.


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An American Playgoer at Home by Joseph Donohue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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