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Otterbein University Theatre Presents The Greeks- The Murders

February 3, 2015

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University Theatre presents a bloody, dramatic, rock adaptation of classic literature, The Greeks: The Murders, Three plays by Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19; 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 22; and 8 p.m. on Feb. 20-21 and Feb. 26-28 in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St. Tickets cost $18. Call 614-823-1109 or visit www.otterbein.edu/drama for tickets or more information about the Otterbein University Theatre season.

“Sin leads to sorrow — and sorrow leads to sin.” In a rare presentation of three stories of the House of Atreus (Iphigenia In Aulis, Agamemnon and Electra) that will appeal to fans of Game of Thrones, the strength and love of family are tested by temptations of power, honor and revenge. The cry for war to rescue Helen from Troy traps Agamemnon, his wife and children in a spinning wheel of destruction, where horrifying choices are made in the name of “Justice” and consequences reverberate through generations. With boldness and ingenuity, playwrights John Barton and Kenneth Cavander have combined three of the most celebrated plays of the greatest Ancient Greek tragedians in a fresh, electric new translation. The result is a searing look at timeless facets of human nature that speaks directly to even the most contemporary of audiences.

The production is directed by Melissa Lusher, known in the Columbus area for her direction of the Otterbein University Theatre & Dance and Music production of Spring Awakening—named one of The Columbus Dispatch’s top 10 shows in 2012.

Lusher’s approach to the production is not the typical “dry, stilted, and overly wordy” presentation. “The language of Greek tragedy should be all blood and bone with very little fat. At first glance, the adapted texts of these three plays may seem almost too pared down…but don’t be fooled. Everything we need is still there. They have been stripped down to their barest essences and it’s your job to ignite the fire simmering within the words,” Lusher said.

When prepping the actors for their roles, Lusher advised, “Go big or go home! Greek tragedy is not the place for subtle, naturalistic, understated acting. These plays are huge! The things the characters are dealing with are huge. We’re talking ‘kill your own daughter, husband, mother’ kind of huge!”

Lusher is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Otterbein, where she teaches speech, dialects and acting, and also serves as the resident speech/dialects coach for all productions. Lusher also regularly serves as a guest dialect coach at area universities and theater companies. Recent guest coaching posts include The Irish Curse at Short North Stage, The Scarlet Pimpernel at Actors’ Theatre, Noises Off at Ohio Wesleyan University, Homebody/Kabul at Denison University and Hay Fever at the Dublin Abbey Theatre.

Lusher holds an master of fine arts degree in acting from the combined program of Carnegie Mellon University and the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia, and a bachelor of fine arts degree in acting from Carnegie Mellon. She was a founding company member of the American Studio Theatre in New York City and also served as the company’s resident voice and speech coach. Her favorite acting roles include Barbara in August: Osage County (Otterbein Theatre), Goneril in King Lear (Actors’ Theatre), Marina in Volodya (LaMaMa E.T.C.), Margaret in King Richard III and Emilia in Othello (AST), Clytemnestra in The Greeks (Moscow Art Theatre), and the title role in Miss Julie (CMU). Lusher is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA).

Tickets for The Greeks: The Murders are $18 each and can be reserved by calling the Otterbein University box office at (614) 823-1109 or purchased online at www.otterbein.edu/drama. The box office is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to performances. The box office is located in Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St.

DETAILS

The Greeks: The Murders
Three plays by Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles

Translated by John Barton and Kenneth Cavander
Feb. 19-22 and Feb. 26-28
Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville

PRODUCTION TEAM
Director: Melissa Lusher
Guest Scenic Designer: D. Glen Vanderbilt
Guest Costume Designer: Tatjana Longerot
Lighting Designer: Andy Baker
Sound Designer: David Mead

PRINCIPAL CAST LIST

  • ClytemnestraMason Smajstrla
  • AgamemnonJeff Gise
  • IphigeniaAfton Welch
  • CassandraAsel Swango
  • Menelaus/AegisthusEvan Moore-Coll
  • ElectraTori Hidalgo
  • TalthybiusDavid Buergler
  • ChrysothemisMadelyn Loehr
  • Achilles/OrestesPeter Moses
  • Old MenSteven Meeker
  • Chorus LeaderMorgan Woods
  • SoldiersBen Folts, Jack Labrecque

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Thursday, Feb. 19* 7:30 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
Friday, Feb. 20 8 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
Saturday, Feb. 21 8 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
Sunday, Feb. 22 2 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
Thursday, Feb. 26 8 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
Friday, Feb. 27 8 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
Saturday, Feb. 28 8 p.m. Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville
* Opening night, reception to follow performance

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Jenny Hill
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