By Tobi Cohen
Since their return from winter break, third-year acting students have been working hard to make sure their final graduating piece, The House of Atreus, has all the requirements of a classical Greek tragedy: murder, lust, revenge and the quest for ultimate justice.
Though the play does not officially open until Feb. 11, I was lucky to catch a glimpse of their final dress rehearsal. The play is flawless.
The costumes are wonderfully designed to fit the time period. The set design is simple but appropriate, made up of the front of a house adorned with large pillars consistent with Greek architecture. The acting is superb. Tamila Zaslavszy is especially powerful in her role as Clytemnestra, giving a chilling speech in which her hands are stained with blood from murdering her husband Agamemnon.
The synchronized performances of the narrators (the old statesmen in the first play and the Libation Bearers in the second) is compelling as well.
The House of Atreus is a tremendous feat for the actors and technicians since the play is actually a series of three plays which are normally performed separately.
Directed by the highly distinguished John Neville, known for his roles as The Well-Manicured Man in the X-Files and the Baron in the movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the production has received much publicity.
“Things have gone fairly smoothly,” says Sabrina Griffith, the company manager. “The cast particularly enjoys working with John.”
If you decide the check out The House of Atreus be sure to dress comfortably because the only drawback is its length — it’s about two-and-a-half hours long.
This is the Ryerson theatre school’s most expensive production of the year, expected to surpass its budget of $5000, but so far it’s a success. Three performances of the show have already sold out.