In 2014 translator Nicholas Rudall and director Charles Newell gave us their canny and powerful version of Iphigenia in Aulis, Euripides’s look at how, step by excruciating step, Mycenaean king Agamemnon finds himself compelled to sacrifice daughter Iphigenia to Artemis in exchange for clear sailing to Troy. Rudall and Newell came back the following year with Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, in which the king returns victorious from the Trojan War only to be murdered by his royally pissed-off wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. Now a third shoe has dropped. Teamed this time with director Seret Scott, Rudall completes the ancient saga on a note of reckoning: Sophocles’s Electra lays out the suffering and revenge of the title princess, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who’s refused to accept what we might call the normalization process following her father’s assassination.
Still, the play isn’t merely a vindication of Electra’s anger. In this archetypically tragic family, one person’s justice is another’s crime, and Clytemnestra gets her chance to express the wrath that drove her to kill Agamemnon.
She also gets fiercely embodied by Sandra Marquez, whose progress through each installment of Rudall’s DIY trilogy—from happy mother to brooding autocrat—has been darkly fascinating. The heart of this production, though, is Kate Fry’s obsessed Electra, at once Hamlet mad, Hamlet lucid, and Hamlet wry in her response to a situation that makes her Hamlet’s spiritual ancestor. Fry holds our rapt attention throughout the 90-minute drama, yet it’s only in the last seconds, with a simple bit of blocking, that we catch the full resonance of her trauma.
Electra Through 12/11: Wed-Thu 7:30 PM (no show Thu 11/24), Fri 8 PM, Sat 3 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 7:30 PM, Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, 773-753-4472, courttheatre.org, $48-$68, $43-$63 seniors, $36-$51 students.