August 2, 2014
Electra back with a vengeance on stage
For the Herald
Adapted version of O’Neill’s Mourning becomes Electra gets great new stagingAlmost a century after American author Eugene O’Neill wrote Mourning becomes Electra, his own take on Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, Georgian theatre director Robert Sturua presents an adapted version on the stage of the Teatro San Martín.
Sturua, working alongside with Patricia Zangaro, decided to trim down the narrative and shift the focus around Electra’s myth by removing every timeframe, reducing the importance of the psychological aspects and shaping a more universal version. However, the fundamental aspects remain firmly in place, as the director keeps the classical structure — the chorus and the multiplicity of characters as well as the linear temporal logic, and this becomes one of the most alluring choices of the mise-en-scene.
Set design helmer Gabriel Caputo chose a scaffolding structure built on two levels, providing the possibility of representing more than one situation at the same time as well as the same scene in two separated planes. With a white floor and props, the rest of the elements that compose the scene are a couple of — also white — cubes which prove highly functional for the play’s needs. This option, on one side, allows the audience to complete and interpret most of the places and, on the other side, holds true to the anti-naturalistic way the set design used to be.
Leonor Manso — in a fully committed performance — embodies a heartless mother willing to kill her husband to end up with her younger lover, obtruding her daughter’s wishes. Paola Krum — as the strong and childish daughter — highlights the difference between the admiration she feels for her father and the displeasure she has for her mother. With a full-presence on stage, both of them greatly achieve the characters’ essence as well as their interaction.
Pablo Brichta plays a vagabond that serves as narrator, as well as informant and complice. Also, he adds humour and lightness to the prevailing drama. Together with the chorus — composed by nine actors and actresses — these characters incorporate parallel tales while emphasising most of the situations. María Figueras and Germán Rodriguez interpret two siblings pretending to join the Manon family as marital prospects. Nacho Gadano embodies another family lover but, in this case, the mother’s one, also being an accomplice of Manon’s murder.
The cast is completed by Héctor Bidonde as Manon, a warrior patriarch who sincerely loves his murder-bent wife and Diego Velázquez as his son — also returned from the war — who stands out with an incredibly physical and well-accomplished performance.
Topics such as family, passion, incest, betrayal and paranoia are very present in El luto le sienta a Electra, a story with multiple angles and insights that may lure the interest of the audience, as well as make them feel related to some of the premises portrayed.
Where and when
Teatro San Martín, Corrientes 1530. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8.30pm and Sundays at 19.30pm. Tickets from 45 pesos.