If a modern day interpretation of a Greek tragedy is what you are looking for, have I got the play for you! AstonRep Theatre Company begins its 2013-14 season with the Chicago premiere of The Water’s Edge by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Artistic Director Robert Tobin, playing September 26 – October 26, 2013 at its new, larger home at The Raven Theatre. The play which opened in New York in 2006 is inspired by Agamemnon.
As with any Greek Tragedy worth its salt, there is a family facing a lot of problems and some interesting family relationships. A husband and father returns home after a 17-year absence – with a new girlfriend in tow – to face the ex-wife who still blames him for a devastating loss in their family's past. Following in the footsteps of the Greeks whose works were written for major festivals held during the year, playwright Theresa Rebeck explores questions much the same as the Greeks asked as we continue exploring the human condition. What is justice? What is freedom? Who suffers s a result of another’s success? What happens when rage can’t be contained? There are no answers here but the characters are vividly portrayed. The characters are each flawed and dysfunctional and I could feel their pain and confusion.
We meet Richard (Ray Kasper), a rich, controlling man who, after seventeen years appears with his girlfriend Lucy (Mary-Kate Arnold) at the home of his wife and children. This was the home of his family and he wants it back, now. Daughter, Erica (Sara Pavlak) is shocked to see this man whom she hardly recognized and upon whom she unleashes a string of “explative deletes”. Richard says he wrote to his wife, Helen (Amy Kasper) to say he would be there. Nate (Tim Larson) comes to the door. He is effectively portrayed as a young man with mental or emotional problems.
Inspired by and loosely based on Agamemnon, who was the leader of the Greek forces during the Trojan War. This first of three tragedies takes place in Argos shortly after the fall of Troy, The Water’s Edge is food for thought. (Spoiler alert: There is male nudity.) Each of these characters reveals to the audience their inner feelings an conflicts as this suspenseful drama moves forward. The characters were well developed, the acting strong. The set was impressive, using a small simple space effectively. In the end, though I was moved and shocked, I did not related to the characters.
The production team for The Water's Edge includes: Jeremiah Barr (set design), Derek Bertelsen (costume design), Clayton Horath (music composition), Melissa Albertario (assistant director) and Samantha Barr (stage manager) and Danielle Moore (assistant stage manager).
About AstonRep Theatre Company:
AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced nine full-length productions and five annual Writer’s Series. “An ensemble of artists focused on keeping theatre relevant by producing new works, revisiting and re-imagining classics, and uncovering timely, rarely-produced works of the past.”
The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago
Regular run: Sunday, September 29 – Saturday, October 26, 2013
Curtain Times: Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3:30 pm
Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular run: $20. Student/senior/industry/group discounts $10 - $15. Tickets are available at AstonRep Theatre Company or by calling (773) 828-9129.
Photos by Emily Schwartz