Thursday, September 13, 2007

Iphegenia 2.0 in New York City

[Sunday night, September 9]

After running the second half of Big Love at rehearsal, we loaded ourselves into two vehicles and flew along Route 78 to get into New York City to see the Signature Theatre Company’s production of Iphegenia 2.0, another play by our own playwright Charles Mee. Another modern re-telling of a classic Greek myth, it also blurred the line between historical piece and modern play, with characters named Agamemnon and Menalaus talking about Jeeps and RPGs. It was a lot of fun to see a professional production of one of Mee's plays, especially since they have the budget and the resources to do the kind of spectacle that his plays demand.

The performers were amazing, using their voices and their bodies very well to tell the story. It was also a lot of fun to see Kate Mulgrew, Star Trek Voyager's Captain Janway, onstage in such a large theatrical piece. She was very effective, capturing attention and focus when needed, and seeming at home in the physical demands of such a role. This play also contained the sequences of music and dance that are in Big Love, as well a sequence of intense destruction and celebration at the very end. All in all, I liked the production. I enjoyed the story elements of Big Love more, but I liked the way the spectacle functioned in Iphegenia. It seemed more organic and less forced.

We also had a great time. In the car with the director and three girls of the cast, we talked and laughed all the way into the city, and then played a fantastic mix CD on the way out. I asked everyone there to think of driving music for me for when I leave on tour, and it was a fun time with some new friends.

Above all, I was struck by the dedication and passion of the performers in this New York production. And I realize that when doing a Charles Mee play, the stakes must always be very high. Everything is a matter of life or death, and a high level of committment must accompany every moment. This play is a challenge, and I love it.

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