It got a bit messy this week at my day job drudgery….I’ve whined about it already here and elsewhere, you’ve likely had your fill. Well, so had I, and a night off with some good theatre was just what Doctor McHate-Your-Job ordered! Luckily for me, it was that magical time of year when the graduating class at the Ottawa Theatre School begins putting on their slate of public performances, and ya know I love me my OTS gangsters. A quick trek out to Westboro to my old alma mater at the OSSD brought me to the lovely Natalie Stern Studio, where the evening’s show, THE EUMENIDES, was going up.
Technically part three of Aeschylus‘ classic Greek trilogy (do I even have to mention it was a tragedy? Come on, it’s Greek) The Oresteia, following the hilarious events of AGAMEMNON and THE CHOEPHORI…think lots of war, murder and revenge, and you’re getting warm. Our story picked up with Orestes (Nick Fournier) on the run after having murdered his Mother Clytemnestra (Hannah Gibson-Fraser). Sure, she’d killed his Father, and Sun-God Apollo (Alexis Scott) totally made him do it, but it turns out matricide is kind of a bugaboo with the Furies, a cabal of nightmare women from the bowels of the Earth who you do NOT want to get on the wrong side of. The lot of them (Dilys Ayaforq, Karina Milech, Alyssa Gosselin, Alison Rainier, Hanna Gibson-Fraser again, and Holly Griffith, who also does double duty as a priestess in the opening scene) relentlessly pursue Orestes to Athens, where he appeals to the Goddess Athene (Tiffani Kenny) for justice, whatever that may end up being. Athene, not being a small thinker, decides to invent the modern legal system right then and there to settle the dispute.
It was great to finally see this class of kids in action, and in such a cool beans show to boot. Director Jodi Essery, a new and welcome addition to the OTS, put the gang to pretty solid use, and made a highly engaging spectacle out of Aeschylus’ well-aged work. Right off the bat, I have to applaud the gaggle of Furies, who quickly became probably my fav’rit ever onstage chorus…they were ultracool and scary as Hell, and I had a hard time taking my eyes off of them anytime they were about. Dilys Ayaforq was especially impressive as the head Fury, and Milech and Gosselin also did great work, slinking around joined at the arm. Terribly creepy and fun, folks. And wow, Alexis Scott makes for a bloody fantastic Apollo, swaggering about the stage like Han Solo after he’s just nailed Princess Leia. It’s a great performance, and one of several…Griffith’s opening monologue is a stunner. This is a terrific show that still holds up after, what, a thousand years? Depending on what part of the world you’re looking at, the arguments in this show about Justice vs. the Law are just as important as ever.
Essery’s direction is spot-on, making sweet use of the cozy studio space. The costumes are WICKED cool (the program only mentions a costume ‘consultant’, Deborah Hoeberg, but all props to her!), and really help sell the mood. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention stage manager Jodi Morden, herself a former OTS kid come back to help guide the talented new crop. If you want to support new, exciting theatre (you do), and especially show some love to the great Ottawa Theatre School program (you REALLY do), then you need to get yourself out to catch this show while it’s here. You’ve got until the 24th…don’t miss out, or the Furies’ll getcha (sorry, cheesy ending…sometimes I just can’t help myself)! Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)