Greek drama's combination of ritual form and social immediacy has effectively been reinvented in Jatinder Verma's marvellous blend of all material which comes to hand: Japanese and South Indian dance and dramatic stylisation; company members' ancestral cultures Including Tamil, Ashkenazic and Afrikaans; even semi-gratuitous bits of Appointment In Samara and The Waste Land. All are brought into play in what is not only a powerful and vivid version of the tragedy but also an eloquent celebration of the riches of a pluralistic society. In doing so it affirms, almost by the way, that such a society is more than a wispily utopian prospect, that (in however incomplete a measure) it exists here and now. Applying this process to Sophocles' play has involved sweeping away all mistaken fidelity to the old duologue-and-chorus conventions and setting the inherent drama of the story free again. It's a triumphant and potentially quite important achievement.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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