Ivo van Hove’s latest epic – 3 hours 45 minutes including intermission – for the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam – is based on six tragedies by Euripides and one by Aeschylus. The theme is the Trojan War and the fall of the House of Atreus, a story of murder and revenge.
The senseless killings continue for generations. A father murders his daughter. His wife takes a lover while he is at war and they kill him on his return. Her children kill her and her lover and the children are then killed for killing her. And so it goes on and on, without end.
Van Hove does for these ancient Greek classics what he did for Shakespearean histories and Roman tragedies. It is important, he says, to act out these stories in our time. The actors perform in Dutch with English subtitles. It doesn’t feel like 3 hours 45 minutes at all.
The set is like a big wide stage at a rock festival. The production is vocally, visually and physically exciting. The stage often fills with smoke. There is a doom metal soundtrack. Drums are beaten. The strobe and flashing lights are intense and frenetic. The images projected onto a huge screen are fantastic. cities burn. The choreography is original and created for non-professional dancers.
The second half is dedicated to Elektra and Orestes. The inhumanity continues. Horror follows horror, wild, cruel, barbaric. The audience was audibly shocked when Elektra cut off the dead Aegisthus’ penis.
Who is to blame for starting the war? Helen is in favor of eloping with Paris; but ultimately the gods are to blame. It was the goddess Artemis who insisted that Agamemnon sacrifice his infant daughter Iphigenia, the price for the wind that the Greek army so desperately needed to sail to Troy.
The war lasted 10 years. Troy was completely destroyed. All men were killed. The women were enslaved. 2,500 years later nothing has changed. It would be impossible to watch Age of Rage and don’t think of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the tremendous loss of life and destruction of towns and villages that has entailed.
Robert Tanitch reviews Ivo van Hove’s Age of Rage at the Barbican Theatre, London
Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Ivo van Hove’s Age of Rage at the Barbican Theatre, London