The Oresteia | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Aeschylus' trilogy about one family's seemingly perpetual cycle of killing and retribution is unquestionably violent: father kills daughter, mother kills father, son kills mother, curse without end. But in British poet Ted Hughes's translation, the work becomes an orgy of frenzied grisliness, with blood belching from bodies in foaming jets, collecting in pools, and splattering the faces of victim and killer alike, creating indelible stains. It's the fall of the slaughterhouse of Atreus. Considering the bloodthirstiness of the translation, Julieanne Ehre's staging for Greasy Joan & Company is curiously anemic. Her antiseptic modern-dress production replaces Hughes's savagery with a sleek blandness that all but cancels out the script's awful power. Only Charlette Speigner's vicious, feline Clytemnestra comes to monstrous life. Through 4/23: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, no show Sun 3/26, Storefront Theater, Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497, $15, $30 Sat 4/1 (includes postshow reception).

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