Review of Frank McGuiness's adaptation of "Electra"

Authors Avatar by oliviaborg14hotmailcouk (student)

On the 7th October, my Drama group and I went to see the Greek tragedy “Electra” at The Old Vic Theatre in London, adapted by Frank McGuiness. It was directed by Ian Rickson and starred Kirstin Scott Thomas who plays the lead role of Electra. This play follows Electra throughout all the different stages of grief she goes through following the murder of her father Agamemnon. Unwilling to forgive and consumed by a desire for revenge, her anger builds; on the return of her brother Orestes, Electra’s wrath then explodes without mercy, leading to a bloody and terrifying conclusion.

Within this play there are strong elements of grief, addiction and an intense need for restitution. Electra is filled with loss from the pathological, addictive grieving over her father who was murdered many year before hand, by her mother and step-father, which traumatic aftershock has left Electra withered and motionless as well as in need of revenge as a sort of compensation for the loss of her father, to the fresh grief over her brother.

The set of the play is extremely minimalistic, with small feature which make up the arena; a tap, a fire pit, a tree and two pillar with a door in between them are featured on the stage, and I believe these component are symbolic of the four element, fire, earth, water and air. The tree however is barren and the branches are cut off before their time. This is representative of Electra’s father, Agamemnon as he was murdered but also because his family line is no more, he can no longer have any more children to pass on his name. The door is old and decaying which represents Electra’s family as its slowly falling apart, however it also establishes a huge divide between the inside and outside, essentially creating two separate worlds. These two worlds represent places of oppression. The characters behave appropriately within the inside world as well as by the unspoken rule of the place. The outside is an area where the characters reveal their true colours, nevertheless at the end of the play the two worlds collide.

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The stage itself is in the round, meaning audience members are able to see each other’s reactions, this is effective as it adds a degree of intimacy to the play, but also because the audience is able to see the play but more importantly the characters from every angle creating a sense of vulnerability, as everything is exposed to the viewer’s eyes.

Electra abandons the regal clothes bestowed to her by her mother and completely neglects herself. She is first presented in a ragged, grey dress, held together by a leather belts which eventually she takes off, representing the release ...

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