This is a very dramatic family.
A lot of theater and opera have been based on the story of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and their kids. He was the king of Argos. She, his wife and queen. They had 4 daughters; Elecktra, Chrysothemis, Iphigenia, and Iphianassa, as well as a son; Orestes. They were not a happy family.
A less ideal marriage to begin with, they were both adulterers, things turned really ugly when Agamemnon decided to go off and fight the Trojan war. Due to some odd circumstances this involved making a human sacrifice of one of the daughters; Iphigenia, though she didn’t really die because Gluck wrote an opera about what happens to her afterward. While her husband is off at the war, Clytemnestra takes a lover; Aigisthos and moves him into the palace. Agamemnon comes back from the war and Clytemnestra hacks him to death in the tub. She claims it was because he sacrificed Iphigenia but Elektra thinks the real reason is because she was getting a little somethin’ somethin’ from Aigisthos. Elektra spirits her baby brother, Orestes, away to be raised by strangers. This, along with Elektra’s habit of calling her a murderer and a whore every chance she gets makes Clytemnestra a little cranky so she makes Elektra a slave in the palace. That gets us to where this play begins. In this play, Elektra goes a little crazy and Orestes, now all grown up, comes back from wherever and stabs Clytemnestra and Aigisthos to death.
Humor aside, the story of Elektra’s life and the return of Orestes to take vengence against Clytemnestra for the killing of Agamemnon is as serious and as transcendent as stage drama gets. This production of Anne Carson’s translation of the Sophocles play is also among the most powerful productions I have seen on a Stratford stage. The costumes are contemporary. The design elements are stark and undefined in time. I know almost nothing about classical Greek theater but the chorus operates the way I have always envisioned a Greek Chorus. They start interacting with the audience even before the play begins and sing, speak, and chant throughout. The only thing I can really say about this production is I wish we were staying longer because I know I would get even more from it if I saw it again.