A.C.T. Continues 2012-13 Season With ELEKTRA Starring Olympia Dukakis, 10/25-11/18
Direct from its sold-out premiere in Los Angeles, American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) continues its 2012–13 season with A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff's sweeping production of Sophocles' Greek tragedy Elektra-featuring a specially commissioned new translation by Olivier Award–winning British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, an original score by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer David Lang, and Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, reuniting the team that brought Bay Area audiences the 1995 critically acclaimed, smash-hit production of Euripides' Hecuba. Love and revenge take center stage in Elektra, which will haunt the A.C.T. mainstage just in time for Halloween.
Elektra features two of A.C.T.'s most beloved performers: core Acting Company member René Augesen (recent productions of Once in a Lifetime, The Homecoming, and Clybourne Park at A.C.T.; Blithe Spirit at California Shakespeare Theater ) in the title role and associate artist Olympia Dukakis (Vigil and Hecuba at A.C.T.) as the Chorus Leader. They are joined by Caroline Lagerfelt (Mary Stuart at A.C.T.; TV's Gossip Girl) as Clytemnestra, core Acting Company member Anthony Fusco (recent productions of Race, The Homecoming, andClybourne Park at A.C.T. ; Blithe Spirit at California Shakespeare Theater) as the Tutor, Nick Steen (current third-year A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program student) as Orestes, Allegra Edwards (current third-year A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program student) as Chrysothemis, and associate artist (and former core Acting Company member) Steven Anthony Jones (artistic director of San Francisco's Lorraine Hansberry Theatre) as Aegisthus.
The creative team for Elektra includes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang (The Little Match Girl Passion), scenic designerRalph Funicello (Maple and Vine at A.C.T.; Julius Caesar and Henry IV on Broadway), costume designer Candice Donnelly (The Circleand Happy End at A.C.T.; Fences on Broadway), lighting designer Nancy Schertler (Scapin and Boleros for the Disenchanted at A.C.T.; Bill Irwin's Fool Moon on Broadway), and sound design by Cliff Caruthers (The Homecoming and November at A.C.T.; Crime and Punishment at Berkeley Repertory Theatre).
Clocking in at an intense 90 minutes, this new interpretation of the timeless Greek tragedy is a fast-paced thriller-of epic proportions. After her father, King Agamemnon, is murdered by her mother and her mother's lover, Elektra is consumed by grief and fiercely intent on revenge. Every day, she prays to the gods that her exiled brother, Orestes, might return to help her avenge their father's death, and every night, the silence of the gods drives her closer to madness. As Sophocles' iconic tragedy depicts humanity in its most extreme behavior, Elektra engages the audience as judge and jury-a stark reminder that we are all witnesses to our shared history. Elektra performs a limited run October 25–November 18, 2012, at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco). Press night is Wednesday, October 31, at 8 p.m. Tickets (starting at $20) are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org or by calling 415.749.2228.
Perloff first directed Sophocles' Elektra more than 20 years ago at New York's Classic Stage Company, in a world premiere of a translation by poet Ezra Pound. The new translation by Wertenbaker penetrates the emotional complexity not only of the title figure, but her exiled brother, her desperate sister, and her paranoid mother. Wertenbaker's version preserves the formal structure of the ancient language, while at the same time creating a vividly alive and contemporary feel. David Lang's original music, performed live by cellist Teresa Wong, will add to the emotional landscape of the production-a truly inventive and fiercely passionate composer, Lang has been described by the New Yorker as "an American master."