When: Wednesdays-Saturdays. Continues through Dec. 6 2015
When Court Theatre looked in on King Agamemnon of Argos last year, in a powerful adaptation of Euripides's Iphigenia in Aulis, he was busy sacrificing daughter Iphigenia to the gods in exchange for favorable winds to take him and his armies to Troy. Now Court is visiting him again, this time through the lens of Aeschylus's Agamemnon. A decade has passed, Troy has fallen, the king is returning in triumph, and as for his crimes—well, victory is its own justification, right? Queen Clytemnestra thinks not. Before Agamemnon can get a home-cooked meal, she'll have made her point with a vengeance that's come to define vengeance in Western culture.
Agamemnon may test the patience of modern audiences, even in Charles Newell's fluent, often playful 90-minute staging based on a translation by Nicholas Rudall. The eldest of the three great classical tragedians (i.e., those whose work has survived down to our time), Aeschylus relies heavily on his chorus, which means a lot more telling than showing. But it's worth sitting through the talk to see how Mark L. Montgomery's Agamemnon and Sandra Marquez's Clytemnestra have evolved since we first saw them, in Iphigenia in Aulis. Then the king and queen were awkward, overwhelmed, ill suited to their cosmic roles. Now leadership has made both confident, if not necessarily wise. Clytemnestra is especially fascinating, exploiting others' expectations to get her bloody way. —Tony Adler