Theater review: 'Mourning' is full of life

    This week, the American drama “”Mourning Becomes Electra”” by Eugene O’Neill opens as the second production by the UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance. Based on Greek dramatist Aeschylus’s trilogy, “”The Oresteia,”” “”Mourning Becomes Electra”” looks at the trials of a New England family in the aftermath of the Civil War. Director Suzanne Agins says that one of the reasons she chose this play is that it is “”a great way to retell the Greek myths in a way that we can relate to and identify with.””

    One of the reasons that the play is such a treat for theater patrons is that “”Mourning Becomes Electra”” is not often performed. One of the main reasons is that, uncut, this play runs between six and six-and-a-half hours. With such a massive amount of material to work through, this play is a challenge for both the director and the actors involved.

    But not to worry — this production will not be anywhere close to six hours.

    “”One of my first tasks was to cut it so it runs at a reasonable length,”” Agins said. After cutting as much as possible, Agins says that the production is “”very brisk”” and that it “”plays like a roller coaster, rattling along.”” This is a fast-paced production that is sure to hold the viewer’s attention from the opening line to the curtain call.

    Another good reason to go see this production is that the actors from the Graduate Theatre Training Program perform wonderfully. This play has large characters with an array of emotions to portray. These characters challenge the actors.

    “”This acting is some of the best ever seen,”” Agins said.

    The actors rise to the challenge of the intensity of the production and give the viewers the best performance possible.

    This is a strong drama that grabs the viewer at the very beginning. The play’s characters cover a range of human emotions. However, it is a tragedy, so the play is largely melodramatic. But Agins said that this play “”rips your heart out in the best possible way.””

    This is a good chance for students to see a 25,000-year-old story brought into a much more modern context. Agins also points out that “”this is a chance for UCSD students to see really world class acting. This production grabs you and doesn’t let you go. It is intense, moving, devastating … Everyone likes some devastation, right?”” This is a production not be missed.

    Mourning Becomes Electra

    At Mandell Weiss Forum

    Nov. 21 through Nov. 29

    Box office: (858) 534-4574

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