OPINION: Electra’s opening night captivates audience

Autumn Kehn, Opinion Writer

On Thursday night, I went to see the opening night of “Electra,” a play with drama and tragedy, put on by BGSU Department of Theatre and Film in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre inside the BGSU Wolfe Center.

The performance allowed the audience to feel like they were right in the world with the characters instead of just observing. 

The staging involved an ominous large, red door to Electra’s home, a blue tiled looking floor, and a large stone altar with metal gold flames. The frames of the door looked like three thick nails overlapping each other, while the floor gave off an eerie blue to combat the door and the altar. 

The costuming was very interesting because the women wore more of what would be expected for ancient Greece, while the men wore 1900s inspired clothing. It was an interesting choice that definitely created a new modern dynamic to the ancient story.

In this production, the main character is Electra and she is mourning the death of her father King Agamemnon who has been killed by her mother, Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus (Agamemnon’s cousin). Years later, Electra waits in her lamenting for her brother Orestes to come home and exact justice (and revenge) on their father’s killers.

Orestes is finally ready to come back and do what must be done but must first exact a plan to make this happen (as instructed by Apollo to only rely on his own cunning). This involves his servant, who has been caring for him all these years, to go and see what is happening in Electra’s home and pass on the news that Orestes himself is dead. This allows for everyone later to be caught off guard at his return and he is able to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

The play was met with rounds of applause and several members of the audience stood up for the actors when they came out for a bow. The performances of the actors were a bit of a mix for me but were still more than enjoyable to witness. 

The actress for Electra had a lot on her shoulders to cry and mourn at such intensity for 1.5 hours, so it’s hard to critique the believability of her weeping. However, it did feel like she was acting instead of being and whenever she prayed at the altar, it felt like she’d never bowed her heart and prayed before. 

Her friends, the chorus, did a wonderful job at narrating the story, creating suspense by beating the floor and being Electra’s consciousness. However, the believability of their weeping was also questionable. 

The actor for Orestes delivered a great performance in his facial expressions, eye contact and giving a sound voice as the hero. The actress for Clytemnestra delivered wonderful displays of madness and grief and looked like she absolutely loved doing it. 

The actor for the servant, Phocis, did well and captivated everyone’s attention when telling the false story of how Orestes met his death. The actor for Aegisthus did a good job as well and sold me in his arrogance when he stamped his cane to scare Electra. 

The actress for Chrysothemis (Electra and Orestes’ sister) also did a wonderful job being kind and innocent and never failed in her eye contact and facial expressions. 

Overall, this is a performance that I would highly encourage others to see and experience the ancient drama/tragedy for yourself.