a classical adaptation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon and Euripides'
Iphigenia at Aulis
written and produced by Richard E. Davis
World Premiere: Friday, April 15, 1994
Reviewed by Paula Campbell
Department of Communication
University of San Francisco
Professor and Chair Richard E. Davis of the Department of Communication at the University of San Francisco has skillfully woven the two plays together through the use of a narrator, whose role encompasses both exposition and denouement. Davis reverses the plays from the order in which they were written, putting the story of Iphigenia before that of Agamemnon. By doing this, he presents the events in their 'real time' chronology, making both plays more understandable to the modern audience.
The characterizations are particularly vivid. Achilles, used for comic relief, is nonetheless true in character to his portrayal in the original Greek text. The chorus, often a real problem to the director, is reduced by Davis to a group of six women who are also brought into the Agamemnon where the chorus of Elders is replaced by the women and six men, each differentiated in character and lines, with little speaking in unison. This serves to heighten the dramatic tension and help advance the plot.
The play belongs to Clytemnestra, firmly placed where she belongs, at the center of the action. The clear feminist slant of Davis' work may be familiar to today's audience, yet is perfectly appropriate to this play, and completely in keeping with the tone set by both source plays. This adaptation makes it clear that Clytemnestra is the pivotal figure of this section of the tragedy of the House of Atreus. Creating a master play centering on Clytemnestra makes good sense both logically and dramatically. Kudos to Davis for this sensitive and gripping play.
Paula Campbell is a Professor in the Depatment of Communication, University of San Francisco.