Olympia Dukakis Is Clytemnestra in Off-Bway Agamemnon Feb. 3-22

News   Olympia Dukakis Is Clytemnestra in Off-Bway Agamemnon Feb. 3-22 A new generation will experience the generations-old tale of Aeschylus' Agamemnon starting Feb. 3, when Aquila Theatre Company mounts the Greek tragedy starring Greek-American star Olympia Dukakis as Clytemnestra.
Olympia Dukakis
Olympia Dukakis

Preview audiences at SUNY Purchase witnessed Academy Award-winner Dukakis and husband Louis Zorich (as King Agamemnon) in performances Jan. 30-Feb. 1, in anticipation of the Feb. 3-22 Off-Broadway run at the John Jay Theatre.

According to Aquila notes, "Agamemnon is the first great play of the Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus. Set at the end of the 10-year Trojan War, a victorious Agamemnon returns home only to be murdered by his wife Clytemnestra in revenge for the slaughter of their daughter, Iphigenia; a timeless tale that tackles the themes of justice, revenge, retribution, gender roles, politics and power."

The cast includes David Adkins, Marco Barricelli, Louis Butelli, Gillian Claire Chadsey, Carissa Guild, Nicholas Kepros, Miriam Laube, Matthew Lewis, Toni Melaas, Thomas Schall, Magin Schantz, John Sierros and Alex Webb.

The translation is by Aquila artistic director Peter Meineck, who co-directs and "co-creates" the staging with Robert Richmond.

Aquila is a New York-based troupe that historically uses British and American actors to create fresh, often physically-charged stagings of classics. This marks the first production with an all-American cast. Opening is set for Feb. 12. Aquila intends to stage the entire Aeschylus Oresteia trilogy, which includes The Libation Bearers and The Furies in coming seasons.

Aquila's Agamemnon features costume design by Academy and Tony Award-winner Theoni V. Aldredge and music by Anthony Cochrane (who has created original music for many Aquila productions).

Agamemnon marks Aquila's first subscription season in Manhattan, and the thematic pitch is "productions that intersect on the theme of the effects of war." Upcoming are Shakespeare's Othello, set in a contemporary military world (May 18-June 27, at Baruch Performing Arts Center); followed by the stage adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King, a retelling of the classic adventure of two British rogues on a quest to conquer the wilds of Afghanistan (June 30-Aug. 8 at Baruch Performing Arts Center).

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Aquila Theatre Company was founded in London in 1991 by Peter Meineck "to present innovative productions of classical drama. Since then the company has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe with annual productions in New York and London.

In 1999, Aquila moved to New York and has since presented eight productions, including Homer's Iliad: Book One; Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Comedy of Errors; and Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.

Recently, Aquila was one of six nonprofit U.S. theatre companies to be chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts to bring Shakespeare to communities across the country (in 2003-04).

Tickets for Agamemnon are available through www.TeleCharge.comor (212) 239-6200. Subscriptions for Aquila's 2004 season (three plays for $90) are available by phone at (212) 998-8017 or online at www.aquilatheatre.com.

John Jay Theatre is at 899 Tenth Avenue, across from Lincoln Center.