Fire in the night signals the return of Agamemnon from 10 long years of war in Troy. Triumphant and with a captive slave, the prophetess Cassandra, in tow, the warrior king arrives home and is welcomed by Clytemnestra, wife and mother who seethes with a vengeance born of the slaughter of their daughter Iphigenia. Revenge begets revenge; fate will be fulfilled. The first great play of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, Agamemnon delivers a visceral and haunting theatrical experience.
Staged by the Department of Drama (SU Drama) in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (SU: VPA), Agamemnon performs November 6-15 in the Storch Theater at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex, 820 East Genesee Street. Tickets range $17-$19 and can be purchased at vpa.syr.edu/drama, by phone at 315-443-3275, and in person at the Box Office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Agamemnon was produced in 485 B.C. in Athens and is one of Aeschylus’s greatest tragedies from the Oresteia trilogy. The trilogy is composed of three plays concerning the stories of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Orestes. The other two plays are The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides.
“We all have an idea of what it must be like to lose a daughter, go to war, and to want vengeance,” said Rodney Hudson, Director and Professor in the Department of Drama. “I want to capture a primal quality of theater and offer an opportunity to connect with a deeper level of acting, and also of our being.”
Aeschylus was the first Greek dramatist to introduce the use of more than one actor in a play, as Greek plays originally consisted of a single actor to portray all of the characters. With more than one actor, Aeschylus was able to cut down lengthy choral parts emphasized in earlier works, and include more dialogue. He would also use masks, headdresses, high boots, and vibrantly tailored garments for the actors.
Hudson will present Agamemnon by telling events in a series of scenic pictures, bringing in a multitude of cultural references to underscore the universality of Aeschylus’ play.
“We’re making pictures and telling a story. Some people have told me I’m trying to make the movie version,” said Hudson. “But I’m inspired by directors I’ve worked with such as Andrei Serban and Robert Wilson. They made use of spectacular visual images.”
As a professional actor for over 35 years, Rodney Hudson has performed across the country in major regional theaters, and he was a company member with the famed American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. As a soloist, he has performed selections from Broadway with major orchestras including the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony. Rodney is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.
For more information about Agamemnon and SU Drama’s 2015/16 Season, visit vpa.syr.edu/drama.