Students invite a world of vengeance, betrayal and obsession to the Texas State campus this week. Revenge becomes the only option when a father is murdered and justice cannot be served.
The play Electra, which opens Tuesday, was first written by Greek scribe Sophocles in approximately 410 B.C. The play has been brought to Texas State by director Michael Costello in a modern adaptation by Frank McGuinness thousands of years later. The play explores the original character of an inconsolable Electra, daughter of the murdered King Agamemnon. Clytemnestra, the wicked queen of Argos, further spurns Electra’s mourning with threats to the family.
“We live in this A.D.D. society, so it can be hard sometimes for plays to capture the attention of students,” said Melissa Grogan, associate professor in the department of theater and dance. “This entire play is like an electrical storm. It does not let up for a second. By the end of the hour and 15 minutes, the audience is going to be in a daze wondering what just happened.”
Grogan also plays the role of villainess, Clytemnestra in the play. Grogan said acting alongside students is enjoyable because it allows her to get to know them on a deeper level.
Ashley Rountree, theater senior, plays the lead role of Electra in Texas State’s version of the play. Rountree said much hard work and preparation was put into “becoming” Electra’s complicated character.
“Any piece that I do I try to truly believe in the circumstances of the play, and I want to make Electra’s world as real as possible — as out there as that sounds,” Rountree said. “I’ve been reading through Electra all summer, which helped me to prepare for the role and connect to the character. I needed to become Electra in order to portray the way she handles situations.”
Electra’s brother, Orestes, arrives to restore their family and avenge the death of Agamemnon in the play.
Brandon Mabry, musical theater sophomore, landed the role of Orestes after transferring to Texas State last semester. Mabry said one of his biggest reasons for transferring to Texas State is the way Kaitlin Hopkins, head of the musical theater program, has transformed the department.
“The training at Texas State is incredible,” Mabry said. “It was a hard transition at first to meet new people and start over, but everyone has been really welcoming. It’s awesome that the department brings in so many influential people very much involved in the industry. I came here because of the new BFA program and have been given direct connections just by being here.”
Mabry said he did not expect to be considered for Electra during auditions, but was excited and surprised upon receiving callbacks for the specific role of Orestes.
Electra is the first performance in the theater department’s main stage show series.
Jeremy Torres, publicity coordinator for the department, said a classical Greek play has not been performed at Texas State in a number of years. The entire department is excited for the opportunity.
Torres said the department tries to give students the opportunity to perform in different types of shows to gain experience. He said a modern adaptation of an ancient Greek play puts it in terms more understandable to the everyday audience while adding elements of excitement.
“Costello has been very interested in doing Electra for a long time,” Torres said. “This is the culmination of ideas coming together to create this show. It’s the first time we’ve done Electra on the main stage that I know about.”