Getting the ‘Elektra’ feel of the actors behind the production

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By Alicia Lambert, Reporter

 

Full of aspects of murder, family and bloody revenge is what the University of Nebraska at Omaha Theatre Department brings to the stage production of “Elektra,” a Greek play. The play, which was written by Sophocles and translated by Anne Carson, is being directed by Dr. Douglas Patterson.

After returning from the Trojan War, King Agamemnon was brutally murdered by his wife Clytemestra, who had found a new lover. Eight years after the King’s death, Elektra, the King’s daughter is ready to execute a violent revenge on her mother. Elektra spends her days waiting for her brother, Orestes, to come home so that they can finally avenge their father’s death. However, the arrival of Elektra’s brother may or may not bring final justice.

Although the synopses of the production is incredibly dark, an interview with some of the cast members shed some light on what goes on onstage and in the lives of the actors.

Elektra, the main character, is played by Ryann Woods. Although she has been in three previous shows, her role as Elektra is different. 

“In all of those other productions, I would have to be more polite… I’ve never had to be super aggressive and this show asked me to do a lot of that, which is cool,” Woods said. 

Woods described her character as being oppressed and that the only power Elektra has comes from giving long speeches. Woods said this gives her more time on stage and a different type of interaction with other characters than in previous shows. 

“I’m alone a lot more on stage. Usually, I have a lot of people to play off, and now I’m alone, which is interesting. I’m enjoying it.”

Scottie Pace, who plays Orestes, has been a part of the theatre department for four years. He has also found many exciting elements from acting in his first Greek play. 

“This production is nothing like I’ve seen us do in the past, and working on this show and this character is nothing like I’ve done before,” Pace said. 

Although Orestes has been in exile and is absent in the majority of the play, the character has a dark role,  Pace said. 

“The whole time that I’m gone, I’m planning to come back and to kill our mother and her new lover. I kill everybody and write everything. I come back to get justice on our mother and wreck the city. Being able to play with that aspect of my personality and getting to that darker, more aggressive side is such a big change.”

The chorus also plays an important role in the production.  Faushia Weeder, Audrey Wardian, and Randi Lee are three of the 11 chorus members.

“We end up being kind of like Elektra’s support group throughout the whole play,” Wardian said. “We’re the ones who really get her thinking, and we have a lot of conversations back and forth.” 

While Weeder has been in two previous productions, Wardian and Lee are both freshmen joining UNO theatre for the first time. 

“This is a much bigger workload than I’ve ever experienced before,” Wardian said. “The talent in this department is insane, and the dedication of all the actors and set people is incredible. It’s a good group to work with, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with them.” 

When asked about their favorite parts of working on “Elektra,” the cast had a variety of answers. 

“My favorite part is coming to rehearsal and kind of getting to let loose. I don’t do that very often in my real life,” Woods said. “I have to memorize a bunch of big speeches, but then I can go through and kind of do whatever I want with it. It’s really fun.”

“These characters are all so rich and vibrant and so pure in the things that they are. To take on roles like that and to get to use your energy like that is so fun.” Weeder said. “It’s really fun because we get to sit and watch when we’re not talking and see how everyone is growing.”

A favorite part about the production that the entire cast agreed on was getting to work under Dr. Douglas Patterson. He always brings a deeper meaning to his production, said Weeder, who has worked under Dr. Patterson once before.

“It’s so entertaining and intriguing because he just knows so much. He’s passionate about what he does,” Weeder said.

Previews for the production will be on Nov. 20-21. Actual performances will be at UNO’s Weber Fine Arts Building Nov. 22-23 and Dec. 4-7, with the house opening at 7 p.m. and curtain opening at 7:30 p.m.

To order tickets to watch the cast members perform, visit unomaha.edu/unotheatre or call the box office at 402-554-PLAY. The box office is located in the Weber Fine Arts Building and opened Monday, Nov. 11. Preview tickets are $5 for general admission, while performance tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, military, staff and faculty. Tickets are free for UNO students with UNO IDs.

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