I reviewed the Aquila Theatre Company’s production of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, which opened last night, in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. I had some serious problems with the guest stars, Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich, but for the most part I enjoyed myself:
Still and all, the play’s the thing, and this show, for all its imperfections, begs to be seen. At a time when Broadway has been reduced to recycling the faded ditties of has-been rock stars, it is good to sit in a darkened room full of strangers, immersed in the words of a poet born before Shakespeare, before Giotto–even before Christ. How is it possible that a play written 25 centuries ago should still be capable of moving a New York audience to applause? To watch the Aquila Theatre Company’s “Agamemnon” is to be reminded of what a miraculous thing it is to be human.
In addition, I praised a new book on drama, Notes on Directing, which is also one of my current Top Five picks:
“Notes on Directing” is often dryly funny, as befits a book about the theater: “23. Assume that everyone is in a permanent state of catatonic terror. This will help you approach the impossible state of infinite patience and benevolence that actors and others expect from you.” But while some of its plain-spoken maxims are stage-specific (“115. When a scene isn’t clicking, the entrance was probably wrong”), I suspect that readers of the Journal will be struck by the extent to which many of them are no less applicable to the world of business. Directing a play, it turns out, is best understood as a species of management