First Look Festival: The Oresteia
March 17, 2008 - 8PM
Agamemnon by Aeschylus
Directed by Michael Cumpsty
Featuring Michael Cumpsty & Kate Mulgrew
I was in NYC Monday night, March 17th to see Kate at the Classic Stage Co reading of "Agamemnon". A quick report: All the actors were wonderful and Kate of course was fabulous, very fierce as Klytimestra. After Kate's performance you couldn't help liking Klytimestra even though she's responsible for her husband, Agamemnon's death. Michael Cumpsty, who played Lord Burleigh on Voyager, read Agamemnon. As he explained at the beginning, it's a "first look" so all the actors only had one chance at 2PM to do a read through of the script getting all the language and pronunciation correct, before the performance that night. Even with those time constraints they all had it down and the words just flow from Kate's mouth. Better her than me. :-)
For those who haven't been to Classic Stage it's a very small theater with seats on all three sides. I believe the performance was sold out and I only saw a couple of empty seats. Since 'The Seagull' is currently being performed there (Monday nights are dark), parts of that show's set were still on the stage. There was a fireplace which six of the actors (Michael Cumpstry-Agamenon, Kate Mulgrew-Klytaimestra, Lorenzo Pisoni-Aigisthos, KK Moggie-Kassandra, Dan Oreskes-Herald, David Costabile-Watchman) sat in front of, moving out to the two lecterns when it was their turn to read. Sitting to the side of the lecterns were the chorus which consisted of Terry Beaver, Tom Bloom, and Yusef Bulos, two on one side and one on the other.
Since this was a reading the actors wore street clothes so I'm sure some of you are interested in a fashion report. Kate had on black suede boots with a very high, very skinny heel and very pointy toe; long black skirt, black top, black sweater flung around her shoulders and her hair up with a medium blue color band. Hope that description suffices as I tried to take special notice and remember even though fashion reporting is not my forte. As some of you can attest, usually when I'm asked "what was Kate wearing?" my answer is a bit vague such as "I think she had on black pants and a sweater or something". :-)
Even though the play's subject matter is very serious there's also quite a bit of sly humor. There were quite a few laughs from the audience, much of it in reaction to Kate's reading since Klytimestra has some great lines. The reading was 90 min. long with no intermission but there was a rousing round of applause at the end.
A wonderful evening and it would be great to see a full production of the play. It was great to see a couple of you from the Totally Kate list and if anyone else would like to write a report please do and send it to me! I'm planning on putting the program info up on the site and would love to include some reports from others.
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