THE PHOENICIAN WOMEN by Euripides
Translated by Marianne McDonald
Blind and broken, locked away by his warrior sons, Oedipus lives out his days in sorrow and darkness. Meanwhile his sons, Eteocles and Polynices marshal armies to fight each other for control of Thebes. A desperate Jocasta, mother and wife of Oedipus, tries to broker a truce between her two sons/grandsons. And an even more desperate Antigone tries to honor her family the only way she can. But the inexorable fate of this family must be fulfilled – the women’s efforts are in vain as the men battle to the death.
The Phoenician Women Cast
Bonnie Stone as Jocasta
Maddy Barker as Atigone
Melissa Hamilton, Danae Steele, Bianca Chapman,
Wendy Savage and Dagney Hollmann as Chorus
Todd Dunlavey as Polynices
Brian Abraham as Creon
Javier Guerrero as Eteocles
Benjamin Shaffer as Menoeceus
Fred Harlow as Tiresius and Oedipus
Comments and Reviews of Euripides’ Phoenician Women, directed by Douglas Lay, translated by Marianne McDonald
Robert Hitchcock for San Diego Theatre Scene 5/9. 2009
The Theatre Inc. is not content with bringing their audiences the usually contemporary fare. Currently they are performing Euripides’ The Phoenician Women. The translation is by Marianne McDonald PhD, one the foremost Greek scholars and translator of many Greek plays. In the fall, they will be premiering her original work, Fires in Heaven. Late summer they will be producing Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour. Quite a season!
The Phoenician Women, though nearly 2,500 years old, is extremely timely. It is the story of two brothers marshalling armies against each other, while the blind father seems unable to do anything to bring the boys together. The mother and the boy’s sisters are equally helpless. The violence between the brothers is the same violence and/or threat of violence we see today between countries in the Middle East. Little seems to change.
The Theatre Inc. is housed in very nice space with high ceilings, tiered seating providing good sight lines. This is a new space for them. It seems to be just right for the company.
Director Douglas Lay demands the very best from his casts. He starts by casting some of the best talent in San Diego. His cast for The Phoenician Women includes Bonnie J. Stone, Madeleine Barker, Fred Harlow, Melissa Hamilton, DeNae Steele, Bianca Chapman, Wendy Savage, Dagney Hollmann, Todd Dunlavey, Javier Guerrero, Brian Abraham, and Benjamin Shaffer. Their roles include familiar names such as Antigone, Oedipus, and Polynices as well as the less familiar Jocasta, Eteocles, Creon, Tiresias, and Meneoceus. While we have an opportunity to meet all the players, it is the women of Phoenicia that we see most often. It is their plight, as it is with all of the wives of men sent off to war. In their case, though, they are, at times on the front lines. Their environment behind the castle-like walls and the iron gates is before us. Vince Sneddon’s design has an authentic feel to it.
The battlement is rough-hewn giving the feel that it has seen many attack in the past.
Mitchell Simkovsky’s lighting is often subdued, giving the set an eerie feeling. The sound design by Eusevio Cordova compliments the play. Costume Designer Lawrence Taryn provided contemporary garb. The costumes work for this production, which is set in contemporary times. Director Lay’s decision on the period brings to the audience the truth that the savagery of homo sapiens has not changed in 2,500 years. This production of The Phoenician Women is extremely dynamic with smoke, strobe effects, explosions, and very, very intense dialog. You will be talking about this production for quite some time. The show runs Thursday thru Sunday to May 31, 2009. The Theatre Inc. is located at 899 C Street in
the Hotel Churchill building. The 85-minute performance runs without intermission. It is an excellent, extremely dynamic production. The juxtaposition of a classic story in a classic setting in contemporary garb is shocking and very effective.
-Jennifer Chung Klam-
San Diego Arts
'The Phoenician Women' at The Theatre, Inc.