Agamemnon: From Aeschylus' the Oresteia
Translation by Marianne McDonald and J. Michael Walton
Directed by Ansley Valentine
The first in the great trilogy about the end of the curse on the House of Atreus, the homecoming of Agamemnon from the Trojan War, forebodes a terrible fate. His wife, Clytemnestra, has been planning his murder as revenge for Agamemnon’s earlier sacrifice of their daughter.
Note: This will be an undergraduate-only cast. No MFA actors will be in the production. The intention is to perform the piece using masks.
Rehearsals begin Monday November 14
Performances January 27-February 4
Agamemnon - King of Argos, Agamemnon does not appear until the middle of the play. He has been away at war for ten years, and upon returning he is portrayed definitively as a weary warrior. There is something fatal, resigned, in his every word. His language is particularly blunt. In the context of the play, Agamemnon might perhaps be considered over-masculine.
Clytaemestra - Clytaemestra, queen of Argos, is a dangerous woman. But beneath her venom is a deep, inconsolable pain. We discover that, ten years prior to the action of the play, Iphigeneia, her only daughter, was sacrificed by Agamemnon in order to ensure fair winds for the sail to Troy.
Watchman - A man thoroughly weary of awaiting the bonfire that will signal the fall of Troy, the Watchman entreats the gods for respite. His soliloquy opens the play.
Herald - The Herald was presumably a youth when he sailed for Troy; now he is a man. He is inordinately grateful to be able to die on his home soil, something of which he had almost lost hope.
Cassandra - The daughter of Priam and slave of Agamemnon, Cassandra is the famous unheeded prophetess. She was captured at Troy by Agamemnon who carried her away (possibly as a concubine). Other characters perceive Cassandra as barbaric, animal, or incomprehensible. She wildly forecasts not only Agamemnon's death but her own.
Aegisthus- Aegisthus, son of Thyestes, cousin of Agamemnon enters at the end of the play, after Agamemnon's death. He is to be his tyrannical successor. During Agamemnon's absence, he has been Clytaemestra's lover. His overbold threats to the Chorus illustrate that he will be unfit, even disastrous, as a ruler.
A Chorus of Argive Elders - Usually speaking in a group, they represent the voice of Greek culture and tradition; they are the fathers whose sons have gone to war with Agamemnon and died at Troy; they are the citizens. Sad yet hopeful, the Chorus loyally awaits Agamemnon's return.
Please prepare 2 monologues: one comedic, classical monologue (Shakespeare preferred) and one monologue from either a tragedy or history, also from Shakespeare’s canon. Actors are encouraged to use a monologue from The Winter’s Tale but it is certainly not required. Each monologue should be no longer than 2-to-3 minutes in length.
Florizel - The son of Polixenes – King of Bohemia and Perdita’s love interest
The Shepherd - Perdita's adoptive father
Clown - The Old Shepherd's son and, in many cases, provides the comic relief for the play–he brings levity and light to a story that begins very much in the dark
Cleomenes - A Sicilian lord
Dion - One of the Sicilian lords sent to Delphi to ask Apollo's oracle for a verdict on Hermione's case
Emilia - A lady in waiting to Hermione
Archidamus - a Bohemian lord, part of Polixenes's suite when the latter visits Sicily
1st Gentleman/double as Bohemian - Sicilian member of the court and Bohemian member of the court
2nd Gentleman/double as Bohemian - Sicilian member of the court and Bohemian member of the court
3rd Gentleman/double as Gaoler - Sicilian member of the court and the character who manages the jail or prison