By Jack Georgis
The cast and crew of LIU Post Theater Company have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming production of “Iphigenia and Other Daughters,” which opens on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theater Mainstage.
Megan Sickels, an LIU Post sophomore theater major, plays Iphigenia, the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, royals in Greek mythology. As their first born daughter, Iphigenia was sacrificed to the goddess Artemis. Afterwards, Greek soldiers set sail for the city of Troy. “[The Trojan War] basically happened because they killed this poor innocent little girl,” Sickels said about the story.
Sickels relates to her character in her sense of goodness. “She is the best example of good for goodness sake; she wants to do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because she wants any reward from it,” she said. “I hope… I’m like that.”
Julia Rivera, also a sophomore theater major, plays Clytemnestra.
“She’s essentially the mother in the show; she was a queen in Greece for about 10 years, had four children, (and) one of them was sacrificed by her husband before the Trojan War,” Rivera said. “The beginning of the play covers this sacrifice, while the middle shows her relationship with her (other) two daughters.”
Rivera portrays Clytemnestra as having strength through her femininity, and she personally connects with this aspect of her character. Today, “she would be a CEO of a majorly successful company,” Rivera said. “She ran (Greece) for 10 years with three children which is very, very impressive.”
Speaking about the production as a whole, Sickels expressed the importance of the work the whole cast and crew have put in. “It was so exciting to get the cast list and see all the wonderful people I am working with because they are all so talented,” she said of her fellow LIU Post student actors. “It was a little terrifying because you want to do everybody else justice.”
“The production has been a really wonderful process; at the beginning when we were still doing table work, we went through the whole script with a fine-tooth comb,” Rivera said. “We covered every single detail, we made sure that we were on the same track,” she said.
Dina Vovsi is the director of the production. “Dina has been fantastic; she has made sure that we have all had a very strong voice throughout the production, which is really awesome,” Rivera said.
“From day one I have been impressed with the talent the students and whole design team has,” Vovsi said. “(During) table work week, we really dove in and brought a lot to the table, starting with an amazing groundwork, and seeing that impact has been incredible.”
“I love the concept of violence and the way it plays on innocent people who have nothing to do with it,” Sickles said. “War just sort of tears this family apart. A lot of people don’t realize it is something that goes on still in this world.”
Vovsi mentioned how the violence portrayed in the play leads to a need for action. “It grounds us in the idea that these are very real people,” she said. “(People) feel a lack of control and feel they must take action.” However, she incorporated a sense of humor into her direction. “With so much violence, you have to find where the lightness is bring it up before they go down,” Vovsi said.
“Dina has been doing a really good job of integrating humor into it and making light of certain situations which is nice, it’s a breath of fresh air,” Rivera said.
The story of the play is one of intrigue, according to Rivera. Audience members might find any of the characters relatable. “There are certain characters you can find yourself in, whether it’s Iphigenia or Clytemnestra,” Rivera said.
Vovsi explained the message she hopes the play will convey. “The relationship to war and the effects on soldiers and everyone around them, what does it do to all the people involved?” she said. “The play was written in the post World War I era. The actors really dived into shell shock and PTSD (and how it affects men and women).”
“Iphigenia and Other Daughters” will be performed in the Little Theater Mainstage on the LIU Post campus on Nov. 9-10 and 15-17 at 7:30 p.m., and on Nov. 11 and 18 at 3 p.m. General admission is $15, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at tix55.com/ptc700.
This article was originally published in the Pioneer, the award-winning student newspaper of LIU Post, www.liupostpioneer.com, and is republished here by Blank Slate Media with the permission of the Pioneer.