Ann Arbor's Penny Seats Theater Returns with ELEKTRA Tonight
Ann Arbor's Penny Seats Theatre Company is set to begin rehearsals for its fourth summer residency at the West Park Band Shell. This year the group will present Sophocles' Elektra, translated by former University of Michigan professor Anne Carson and directed by Penny Seats co-founder Russ Schwartz. The Penny Seats encourage patrons to make an evening of coming to the show, which will perform Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in July, starting today, July 10th. Tickets are just $10, and grounds will open at 5:30pm each night with performances at 7:00pm. Picnic dinner packages will be available at the park.
Schwartz says the company found Carson's Elektra a thrilling prospect from its first experimental reading. "We didn't want that session to end - there was too much to discuss. The story shows you a character who has been pushed to her limits by betrayal, hatred, and evil, fighting back with wit, subterfuge, open rebellion, and above all, total dedication to righting the wrong at the center of her life. It's easy to love her while also being kind of afraid of her, and the same is true for the people around her. Through them, you can see how families pass along and transmute their pain, and how the traits they share can tear them apart. "
For the first time, The Penny Seats will present the play in the brick promenade space in West Park, with the audience on the surrounding grass enjoying a direct view of the action. Company president and co-founder Lauren London says, "By working with the space rather than attempting to transform it, we allow the elements we choose for costumes and props - as well as the company itself - to suggest the world of the play. Through this, Elektra will be more immersive than any of our previous outdoor offerings, and will focus audiences on a surprisingly immediate drama and the questions at its core. The show suits us, and will challenge us to grow in meaningful ways. It is of a genre we have not yet attempted: a new translation of a classical work."
Emily Caffery, a veteran of Ann Arbor's Performance Network Theatre, Carriage House Theatre and the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, will star as Elektra. She is joined by Scott Wilding, Sonja Marquis, DeAnnah Kleitz-Singleton, Samer Ajluni, Kez Settle, Katherine Nelson and Patrick Hanley. All cast members are performing with The Penny Seats for the first time.
The production team includes Lauren London (producer), JP Hitesman (assistant director), Stephen Hankes (stage manager and set designer), Bridget Bly (costume designer) and Sean Murphy (technical director.)
Tickets will be available at www.pennyseats.org beginning on June 1.