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Posts Tagged ‘Ramin Gray’

In a first in my 35 or so years of regular theatre-going, there was a libation ceremony at the beginning of this play. The CEO of the London Borough of Southwark credited and thanked those whose funds had enabled the production before pouring wine over the stage! This apparently replicated what happened when the play was first performed.

This is a 2500-year-old feminist play about a boatload of women who flee North Africa to avoid enforced marriage. In Argos, the Greek citizens democratically vote to give them asylum and send their pursuing menfolk packing before questioning the value of migrants. 2500 years ago!

Playwright David Greig has adapted Aeschylus and its mostly performed by a community chorus of 24 women, with a similar number towards the end representing the citizens of Argos. They speak, sing and chant in unison and move as one. There’s brilliantly atmospheric percussion and pipe accompaniment. It’s got an extraordinary energy about it, and a contemporary feel; the vocals even sound like rap at times, and the movement could be contemporary dance.

I loved Ramin Gray’s production, Sasha Milavic Davies’ choreography and John Browne’s music. There was something very thrilling and exciting about such an old play coming alive for a modern audience, and one of the best community projects I’ve ever experienced.

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