Euripides' Hippolytos

Sixth @ Penn Theater, San Diego
12 - 29 January, 2003.

This is the report of a messenger from within the House of Theseus—not a real review—after the closing performance of our second week of enacting the story of Hippolytos in a small 49-seat theater. A friend of mine who has twice attended said to me, "It's a chamber performance of a Greek tragedy - I'd never seen that and found it powerful." Powerful to perform as well; and nice to be costumed in period dress, and with statues of the Goddesses to play to, though only the actress who portrays them in the opening and closing scenes is masked.

I play both the Servant (who first gazes on the young Hippolytos at prayer and then warns him of the seriousness of his insults to Aphrodite) and the Messenger (who returns with the tale of Hippolytos' mortal struggle with the Sea-bull and then bears his wounded body in to Theseus in the final scene). Same costume, same character in my mind, probably the prince's tutor during all the years of his lonely boyhood in Troizen after the death of Hippolyta. In any event, it is so powerful to witness, from a few feet behind them, Hippolytos' forgiving of Theseus in those final moments before he dies, as his father cradles him in his arms. I only hope it is half as powerful for those in the audience!

Perhaps some of them will add comments here to tell us, but in any event to us this feels a good beginning to the expansion of our series of readings that this fully-staged, off-night production represents. We will in any event begin again in March to continue with the readings begun in the "Seven Weeks of Greeks" series described in Volume 5, Issue 3.

Reviewed by David S. Cohen