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Trace Turville (Clytemnestra) & Brian Weir (Hermione)

Clytemnestra sits prostrated on her bed, staring at her daughter Iphigenia’ suitcase.  A year ago today, Iphigenia was sacrificed in front of her father Agamemnon’s troops on the eve of the Trojan war. Clytemnestra holds on to the small suitcase as if it could morph into her belly and she could give birth to her beloved child all over again.

In The Ghost Road Company‘s adaptation of Aeschylus’ “Oresteia,” Clytemnestra was at home when her daughter’s life was taken or offered, depending on who’s telling the story. She didn’t know about the sacrifice, she didn’t witness her death nor did she see her daughter’s lifeless body. Traumatized by the shock of this devastating news and furious over her husband’s betrayal, Clytemnestra’s life – or lack of it – revolves around Iphigenia’s effects, the dress she wore the last time Clytemnestra saw her and a video of the “event” too grainy to give the Queen the information she craves.

The trio of Furies who come to fetch the First Lady to the anniversary celebrations do not take no for an answer. Clytemnestra has no choice but to find the strength to get up, get dressed and get out in front of a crowd to sing the praises of King Agamemnon and their brave daughter Iphigenia.

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The Furies: Madelynn Fattibene, Sarah Broyles, JoAnn Senatore

If HOME SIEGE HOME comes in two parts: “Clytemnestra” being the first and “Elektra & Orestes” the 2nd, grief is known to come in many stages. Clytemnestra treads its dangerous waters, one moment engulfed in sorrow, another energized by anger and a desire for revenge.  Her children, Orestes and Elektra, turn to their parents for guidance and support, in vain.  Neither parents nor children know how to end their torment, making them ripe for manipulation.

The Ghost Road company chooses early1960’s aesthetics to lighten up the drama. The rose colored walls suggest optimism and Tupperware parties rather than funerals and endless wars. In her salmon suits, Clytemnestra prances around like a reincarnation of Jackie O who comes back to earth just so she can experience what it feels like to exchange grace and sweetness for self-righteousness and straight talk.

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Ron Wingate (Orestes), Trace Turville (Clytemnestra) and Mandy Freund (Elektra)

Despite antiquated first names and wardrobe,  it’s impossible not to draw parallels between Clytemnestra and victims of our war on terror like Mary Tillman, known for her quest  to find the truth about her son’s death while he served in Afghanistan.

Clytemnestra’s predicament and its effect on her children, The Furies’ devotion and the complexities brought forth by the impassive goddess Artemis or the compassionate Hermione keep the audience engaged and wanting to return to see Part II.  Yet, it’s not in its display of emotions, no matter how deep, that this worthy drama hits the hardest but in its silences: the looping video of Iphigenia’s dress floating in the wind like a soul caught in Limbo;  the sight of the Furies, unusually solemn, lining up the stage with bar-coded urns. By Act III, everybody on stage and off is more than ready for the reunion between King and Queen. Agamemnon’s redeeming quality: in those days leaders didn’t just declare wars and send soldiers to the battlefields, they fought by their side.

This is the last week of performances for HOME SIEGE HOME at Inside The Ford. Part I (Clytemnestra) will be performed on Friday at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 4pm. Part II (Orestes and Elektra) will be performed on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 8pm. Click here for more information.

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Sacrifice of Iphigenia.

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