March 21 marked the opening night of ‘Elektra’ performed by the CBS Theater at Huset’s House of International Theatre (HIT). The play continues until Sunday.
Starring Jakob Espen as Orestes and Kristine Helms as Elektra, the play offers a modern take on the Greek tragedy. Performed in English by young adults from all over Europe, it meshes present-day issues with a dark classic.
The theatre company’s marketing strategy of comparing the play to HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ was not forgotten during the performance either.
A young princess, Elektra, plots to avenge her father’s death with the help of her brother, Orestes, by killing the murderer: their mother. But not only is she the central character, she is also the central flaw. Portrayed as a whining teenager, she fails to bring the gravitas.
The play’s central act – the murder of the queen, Klytemnestra, by a confused Orestes – is also a letdown. The stabbing is unrealistic, rendering the aftermath of the son crying over his mother’s body underwhelming.
Still, it was a relief to no longer have to put up with the swishing sound of the queen’s dress, which seemed to have been made out of garbage bags.
An attempt to be relevant
In classic Greek tragedies, the chorus is used to comment on and further the main plot. This chorus however spent their stage time discussing Greece like they were travel agents while also raving about southern European men.
Spending what felt like an eternity naming every war since 1991, followed by the entire cast dancing to house music with expressionless faces, the chorus was unnecessarily used to comment on current social issues during a play that was written thousands of years ago.
Not all was lost
Despite all of this, the cast’s preparation and dedication did not go unnoticed. There was definitely not a moment that gave the audience’s minds a chance to wander. With good intentions, the Greek tragedy’s promise for drama was not lost in this performance.