To Be Creatives Ltd have put together a production which tackles issues surrounding mental health, and the care patients receive. In addressing this, they have used the Greek tragedies of Orestes and Electra as their backdrop. In the original Greek, siblings Orestes and Elektra plot and kill their mother and stepfather to avenge the murder of their father Agamemnon.
In this production, Orestes is driven to self-harm because of the death of his father, followed by his exile from his family. Guilt and loneliness plague him. Similarly, Electra is sent to an institution and declared insane by her mother. She feels vengeful and determined to avenge her dear father. Orestes pretends to be a psychologist who appears in order to treat Electra, but she successfully convinces him to commit murder.
Overall, this play tries to do too many things. On the one hand, there is the ‘mental health in young people’ angle, a subject that certainly deserves careful attention. Then there is the central question of ‘Can you commit murder?’, and to top it – there are all the Greek references.
It does some of it well; the set-up is good, the simple props are clever, and the dialogues are crisp for the most part. Stage presence is good too – with a large stage to cover, the cast do well to move the action all over it. But for the most part, there is strangely corny music and a number of jump scares. This is a well-known story, and the play fails to engage sufficiently to balance out the predictability of the tale with intrigue.
This is the production house’s debut play, and in the performances of both actors Arif Alfaraz and Marta Ramonet I see the potential to take the audience along on a journey. But maybe next time.