LAWRENCE — Certainly every family has its share of dysfunction – the ancient Greeks more so than others. Manipulated by both her mother and brother and too stubborn to see where her best interests lie, Electra trudges through intrigues, betrayals and sacrifices in “Electra,” a classic Greek drama opening Friday, Oct. 26, at University Theatre.
“You do not have to be a scholar of ancient Greek text to understand this tragedy. We can all relate to grieving and to being torn between polarized ideologies,” said director Nathan Bowman, who also adapted the script by Sophocles. “While Electra might be seeking murder, I think we can all relate to, rightly or not, the feeling of wanting our opponents defeated.”
This play is not only thought-provoking but also cringe-provoking — at least it will be to some in the audience, Bowman said. Expect the use of fake blood at various times throughout the play, including its climax.
“You’ll see the actors using their bodies in ways that a lot of people don’t see in theatre,” he said, adding that the physically demanding movements are based on techniques of the Suzuki and Viewpoints acting methods.
“Electra” will be performed in the William Inge Memorial Theatre at Murphy Hall. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26-28 and Oct. 30-31 at 7:30pm and an additional showtime at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 28.
Bowman is a Native American theatre artist and musician from Kansas City, Missouri. He has bachelor's degrees in both theatre and philosophy from Northwest Missouri State University, a master's degree in religious studies and is working on his doctorate in theatre at KU. Bowman is a co-founder and the producing artistic director of Kansas City Public Theatre, a free, nonprofit theatre company. He has worked professionally in the Kansas City area for over a decade and has trained at both the New York-based SITI Company and at Second City in Chicago. He’s worked for seven seasons at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. His recent directing work includes his own adaption of the Greek tragedy "Medea: An American Tragedy" at Kansas City Public Theatre and as assistant director for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre production of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
Considered one of the most well-developed female characters in the classical canon of theatre, Electra leads the audience through her emotional and psychological deterioration on her quest for revenge. Jessica Myrick, Grayslake, Illinois, freshman in theatre, and Katherine Patz, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, sophomore in linguistics, will each take turns playing Electra.
The rest of the cast is composed of Josh Philoon, Wilmette, Illinois, senior in theatre, as Orestes; Aubrey McGettrick, Wichita freshman in theatre and Spanish, as Clytemnestra; Emily Gordon, Topeka freshman in theatre, as Chrysothemis; Leon Cambridge, Philadelphia senior in communication studies and theatre, as Tutor/Aegisthus; and Josh McQuade, Lindenhurst, Illinois, senior in journalism, as Pylades. Chorus members are Jill Branch, Houston freshman in theatre and creative writing; Petricia Hall, Salina sophomore in journalism and theatre; Hollyanna Mathews, junior in theatre; Victoria Smith, Altamont sophomore in theatre and English; and Ayzia Underwood, Greenwood Village, Colorado, senior in theatre. The creative team is made up of Lexey Jost, an MFA student in scenography, as lighting designer; Harlan Shoemaker, Tonganoxie senior in visual arts and theatre design, as costume designer; Renee Cyr, graduate student in religious studies, as dramaturg; and Tyla Palmer, Cape Town, South Africa, junior in theatre as stage manager, in addition to staff member Dave Wanner as scenic designer.
Tickets for “Electra” are $20 for adults, $15 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, $15 for KU students at the door and $10 for children and KU students in advance. For tickets and more information, call 785-864-3982, visit the University Theatre Ticket Office in Murphy Hall, or go to kutheatre.com, where you’ll also find the individual performance dates for the women playing Electra.
The University Theatre is a production wing of the University of Kansas’ Department of Theatre & Dance, offering six public productions during the academic year. The University Theatre productions are funded in part by Student Senate fees and supported by Truity Credit Union.
The department is one of three departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.
For more information on the University Theatre or to purchase tickets, visit KUtheatre.com.