HER husband left 10 years ago, after sacrificing their eldest daughter to ensure a safe voyage. His epic journey is to rescue her beautiful and famous sister, Helen, from the clutches of the Trojans, so when Agamemnon returns home it is understandable Clytemnestra is less than overjoyed to welcome him back.
Written by Elisabeth Giffin Speckman and directed by Adams State Theatre Professor Jenna Neilsen, “Clyt; or, the Bathtub Play” is a modern, feminist exploration of Clytemnestra’s tale, and is a darkly comedic, lyrical love letter to one of mythology’s most misunderstood women.
Clytemnestra always felt a bit overshadowed, whether by her sister, Helen, her husband, or her children. She often finds solace while alone in her bath, but when her sister’s abduction leads to unspeakable events, Clytemnestra’s life is forever altered.
“Clyt; or, the Bathtub Play”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 29 and 30, May 6 and 7
2 p.m. May 8
WHERE: SLV Federal Bank Main Stage, Adams State Theatre Building
This is the first staging of this new work by the Indiana playwright Speckman. Neilsen always wanted to direct a Greek tragedy and when she came across this script, she knew this was a perfect piece for Adams State. She also chose it to showcase senior theater major Gwen Garger.
“The play highlights her amazing talent and helped push her acting in new directions.” The story of Agamemnon, like most ancient mythologies, is told from a male point of view. “Anyone who has studied ancient Greek history learns of the set gender roles and relationships and how often women are treated, usually unfairly,” Neilsen added. “They are either victims or villains.”
“Clyt; or, the Bathtub Play” is told by Clytemnestra, who historically has been maligned and vilified. “Her husband, Agamemnon, returns a hero, but at what cost to his wife,” Neilsen said.
Her eldest daughter was sacrificed, her sister is the femme fatale who started a war, and most of her identity is tied to motherhood. It only seems fair to tell her side of the story, oftentimes from the interrupted quiet of her bathtub (something most mothers can directly relate to).
The play is also not the typical Greek tragedy where the action takes place off stage and is recited to the audience through a masked actor. “We turned that on its head,” Neilsen said. “We get to see the acts that drive the plot including murder and revenge. It is an action-driven play.”
The set is minimalistic and Neilsen appreciates the exquisite light design by colleague David Gerke, associate professor of theater, and the epic sound design by theater major Nate Pixley.
There are a lot of funny moments and the play moves quickly. It is written as a combination of modern and classic as characters live in the period while making calls on mobile devices.
The play is for mature audiences due to language and gender (no sexual) violence.
Gwen Garger, Adams State senior theater major, showcases her talents in Clyt; or, the Bathtub Play, which opens Friday.