KPU Students Perform Agamemnon

Those enrolled in IDEA 1400 get theatrical for their final project
Mel Pomerleau, Contributor

Culture 1 - Agamemnon by Nicole Kwit

(Nicole Kwit)

In almost total darkness, a dramatic monologue has the audience anticipating both the beginning of the performance to come and its plot’s looming, inevitable downfall.

Students of Fred Ribkoff’s Expressive Arts through Drama and Theatre class (IDEA 1400) performed Agamemnon, a classic Greek tragedy by Aeschylus, in Fir 128 on the Surrey campus on April 4. Ribkoff’s decision to make Agamemnon his class’s end-of-term performance was made due to the play’s prominent chorus.

“The chorus is a great spot for people who are not altogether comfortable on stage or speaking on their own,” says Ribkoff.

A Greek tragedy also provides individuals with the opportunity to experience something they wouldn’t normally read.

“It’s something that takes them out of their normal comfortable element and into another world,” says Ribkoff.

The play puts actors and audience members into a time ripe with war, revenge, and murder during the fall of Troy. Versions of the play have King Agamemnon murdered off screen, or by Aegisthus—Agamemnon’s wife’s lover. More recent renditions of the play have Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra, murdering him in the bath.

Shayna Subotnick, a general studies student who plays Clytemnestra, saunters down the right-hand side of the theatre hall towards King Agamemnon laying in the tub. In what first appears as a loving touch promptly turns into a swift throat slice from Clytemnestra’s concealed knife.

Students enrolled in IDEA 1400 come with a wide range of theatre experience, from none at all to several years.

For Ribkoff, the most important part of this project in term of his students’ development is “the experience of taking a show from the beginning, from working with the text all the way up until the end and putting it out there for an audience. It’s the process and presenting it at what ever stage it arrives at by the end.”

Katelin Herbst-Reid, a second year student at KPU, volunteered for the role as director.

“I’ve always wanted to try and take on a leadership role of some kind, so I thought it would be fun to put myself into this position that’s kind of new to me and see what happens,” says Herbst-Reid. “I did acting for about five years in high school and I kind of wanted to try something different.”

For Herbst-Reid, the most challenging part of the job was trying to command the attention of 20 people all at once.

“I feel like everyone did really well for the time that we had,” says Herbst-Reid.

The class began working on the play just two months before their performance on April 4.

Colette Coulter, who plays Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon, is an interior design student. She took IDEA 1400 as one of her electives.

“I find this has been good practice for public speaking, confidence, pronouncing your words, and just getting over the fear of being in a crowd,” says Coulter.

“It’s almost like a public speaking class, except it’s fun,” says Subotnick.

Among other assignments throughout the course, students collaborated with a criminology class to create crime scenes for the student’s midterm.

IDEA courses are a chance for students to explore their creative side through collaborative learning and artistic expression. 1000–4000 level IDEA courses are available for students in all disciplines to take as electives.

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