Arts Runoff: HECUBA

Whew. Three reviews.  And I didn’t even get to the orchestra concert, the Moth or Verbal Onslaught.

Summary: Written by Euripides in 420-ish BCE (trans. Kenneth McLeisch).  After the fall of Troy to the Greeks, Hecuba (Troy’s queen, now a slave) must contain her sorrow and use the only power she has left — persuasion — to attempt to save her children and take revenge. The fall Theater Department show: directed by Professor Claudio Medeiros.

Good: Michaela Lieberman ‘10.5 is fantastic as Hecuba. The role requires a lot of weeping and grieving, but Lieberman drives away any potential monotony with powerful acting. She makes you care. // Impeccable tech: a sweeping set to represent refugee tents, precise lighting and sound, masterful makeup and costumes (esp. in the disturbing Polymestor scene). // Brilliant reinterpretation of the traditional Greek chorus.

Bad: The video (two TVs set up to look like surveillance-camera feeds) had potential but left me confused. Clips came and went somewhat unpredictably, and I always had to stare a few seconds to figure out what was being shown, a puzzle that distracted me from the actors. // At one point, the screens showed some helicopter-bombing footage and a shot of the rubble of the World Trade Center.  These clips muddled the metaphor (if defeated Troy is America, why are the occupiers dressed in US-style uniforms?). The production didn’t quite earn the right to show the images; it felt like a gimmick to artificially inflate the power of the scenes — not necessary.

Broad: In many ways, this play mirrors Medeiros’s production of Lysistrata three years ago: ancient-looking costumes mixed with modern military garb, the daring interpretations of choral parts, the focus on a fierce female protagonist trying to take power from a society run by venal men.  It’s interesting to see professors’ work over time, to watch them tackle similar ideas from different angles.

Contextual Rating: If you have something important to do this weekend,
…do it, and see this show if you can.
…put it off and see this show.
…skip it. SEE THIS SHOW.

Hecuba in the Seeler Studio Theater (CFA). ONE SHOW LEFT: Tomorrow at 8:00.

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2 thoughts on “Arts Runoff: HECUBA

  1. You’re putting this in the same category as Marisol and Trestle? Really? Hecuba blew the both of those shows OUT OF THE WATER. I respect what you’re trying to do here with the Arts Runoff (short, concise reviews published before the show has finished its run), but I’ve come to question your taste…the acting, design, and general quality of the two aforementioned student shows is not even in the same league as that of Hecuba. Michaela Lieberman alone makes the show worth skipping everything to see.

    Honestly, you need to be more ruthless in your reviews toward student shows, because I have felt that quite a few have been a waste of my time.

    And while we’re at it, how could you rate Major Barbara lower than Marisol/Trestle? I thought Major Barbara was about 1000x better, as did everyone else I talked to. It was both hilarious and thought-provoking, neither of which I could say about Marisol or Trestle.

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