Laugh Until You Cry

The team players at Buntport Theater make it their business to upend every cornerstone of drama, and that’s how they’ll start their new season — with Electra Onion Eater, a tragedy-turned-comedy that peels Sophocles’s Electra down to its soap-opera core, with a pared-down, floating chorus that speaks from the strangest of places, including Electra’s televison set.

“We really turned the dial on it to play as a comedy,” explains Buntporter Brian Colonna, who adds that audience members don’t have to know the original story to enjoy the play, which makes light of the language and plot devices of Sophocles in typically delightful ways. “It’s set in the family home, but we’ve stripped them of their royal titles,” Colonna says of the mythical characters made real. “And the aesthetic is from the ’70s, in the golden era of the soaps. The soap-opera language is an equivalent to the way the Greek language plays — a little bit stilted.”

And that thing about the onion eating? If you know the Electra story, you’ll recall that she spends an inordinate amount of time crying. “In our take, Electra’s tear ducts have dried up,” Colonna notes. “So she chops onions in order to cry. In real time, she’s making an onion pie as an offering to the gods, and the cooking of it will be done at the end. In this case, she throws it away in the garbage disposal as a sacrifice.” And believe it or not, Colonna also says Electra is “less over-the-top” than usual for Buntport.

Electra Onion Eater opens tonight at 8 p.m. and runs through November 23 at Buntport, 717 Lipan Street. For information and tickets, $16, go to buntport.com or call 720-946-1388; there will be two pay-what-you-can performances on November 7 and 11.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 10, 3 p.m.; Mon., Nov. 11, 8 p.m.; Sun., Nov. 17, 3 p.m. Starts: Nov. 1. Continues through Nov. 23, 2013

 
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