To start things off right, let's make a sacrifice in honor of Dionysus. May this year be filled with lots of love, creativity, and happiness! .. Alas, I have no daughter to give to the gods, so I will write about a man who does!
If you're usually turned off by Greek plays because the drama is so intense that it turns comical, then THIS play is for you. If you love all things Greek and appreciate a nice modern spin on a classic, then this play is for you! Basically I'm saying - this play is for you. And you.
Bauer has created a modern, funny, fast-paced, surprisingly refreshing version of the tragic sacrifice of Iphigenia.
Now, Agamemnon gets a bad rap for his decision to give up his daughter.. he's in an impossible situation. Something that struck me reading this play was the important difference between personal and political. Take this exchange:
Menelaos: These are not the words of a general.
Agamemnon: Just a father.
Menelaos: But you are greater than that. Anyone can be a father. The
army's full of fathers. But who can inspire these men and lead them on to
Remember that season of West Wing when Jed's daughter got kidnapped and he invoked the 25th amendment because he didn't feel fit to serve? He was so focused on his personal life that he couldn't do the country justice. I feel like Agamemnon is in a similar situation - but instead of doing the humane thing, as wonderful-perfect-wishyouwerereal-Jed Bartlet does, Agamemnon gives up his daughter.
One could argue that Agamemnon is not the real bad guy of the story, however, Menelaos is. He is the one who is so laser-focused on war, but with the Greek mentality of the time, who can blame him?
We're Greeks. We don't ask ourselves why we go to war. We ask ourselves why not.The hero of this story is Iphigenia herself. She is a fitting testament to her name, which means "strong-born" or "born to strength," and, I think, an appropriate model to start off the year - a strong woman, secure in her beliefs, unafraid of what's to come.
Here's to a fantastic 2011!
Tomorrow's Play: Wonderful Time by Jonathan Marc Sherman