“The Iliad,” “Electra,” “Oedipus el Rey,” it’s a Greekfest in Chicago! Recent plays have been showcasing Greek theatre roots. The fascinating complexity and connectivity of the ancient stories makes me want to take a Mythology course.
Sideshow Theatre presents the American premiere of IDOMENEUS. The Trojan War is over! Idomeneus, the King of Crete, is coming home. During a rough storm at sea, Idomeneus prays to the gods for safe voyage. In return, he promises to sacrifice the first person he sees on land. He swears it. But who comes down to the harbor to greet him? His son! Or is it? The gods are pissed. But are they mad that Idomeneus killed his son or that he didn’t kill his son? And what about the Queen? What happened on the homefront during the long war years? Everything has changed but everybody remains in sync. IDOMENEUS is King!
The show captivates upon arrival. The stage is covered in sand. The backdrop is a huge wooden wave. And in the middle of the set is a couch and a lamp. Scenic Designer Joe Schermoly keeps it simplistic and profound. A huge cast fills the space. Director Jonathan L. Green masterfully uses a multi-cultural and multi-generational ensemble to deliver the story --- in unison. The entire show is a well-orchestrated spoken song. Different variations of actors harmonize the verses. The synchronization is perfectly poetic. It *is* like a huge wave as the story continually laps from actor to actor. Transfixing, talented chorus! In the lead, Cody Proctor (Idomeneus) is outstanding. Proctor commands the stage with conflicting humanity.
Playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham, has cleverly captured a Greek tale. Schimmelpfennig serves more as a composer than writer in this lyrical verse. And Green picks up the baton and becomes the conductor. Green thoughtfully assigns the parts. He mixes voice type and shifts gender roles for an interesting and vigorous opus. Oh my gods, IDOMENEUS is a one-of-a-kind magnificent sonnet.
Running Time: Sixty minutes with no intermission
At DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph
Written by Roland Schimmelpfennig
Translated by David Tushingham
Directed by Jonathan L. Green
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru September 23rd
Buy Tickets at www.sideshowtheatre.org