Four Women of Thebes | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Four Women of Thebes


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FOUR WOMEN OF THEBES, Harridan Productions, at the Athenauem Theatre. Rewriting the Greeks has become something of a postmodern parlor game: Charles Mee tackled them in Orestes and The Trojan Women, while Barbara Carlisle offered a problematic postmodern interpretation of the women in Oedipus Rex and Antigone in Offending Shadows. Now Ester Lebo gets into the ancient act with a look at the same female descendants of Cadmus, in a handsome staging by T. Clay Buck and Judi Richardson for Harridan Productions.

Though Lebo's linear script is conservative in form, incorporating choruses and other devices from Greek drama, she gives the characters a subtle contemporary edge. Of particular note is Stephanie Repin's performance as Eurydice; based on a handful of lines in Antigone, Eurydice emerges here as the Pat Nixon of Thebes--a sympathetic, long-suffering peacemaker stuck in an unhappy marriage to the Machiavellian "law and order" Creon (a suitably creepy Brandon Bruce). Cassandra Bissell's Ismene is also caught in Creon's lecherous net, but Bissell's graceful performance shows us this underrated little sister's hidden strength and integrity. Kate Parker gives a vibrant warrior-princess cast to Antigone, who gets her hands dirty in the battles between her warring brothers. (Buck and Repin collaborated on the excellent fight choreography.)

This isn't the most radical reinterpretation of the Greeks, and some lines get lost in the histrionics, but Lebo succeeds at giving new voice to old figures.

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