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Yes, I’m talking action films; yes, I know it’s theatre. Yes, I would agree that Greek tragedies have  heightened drama much like an epic action flick.

Like most action films…
The fight scenes are amazing
OR
The explosions are incredible
OR
The intensity of the plot puts you at the edge of your seat
BUT
Often action films are in lack of one or more of these things and rarely do they have all three.

This case with the NY International Fringe play, Butoh Electra. This re-imagining of the Classic Greek play is misdirected with focus on the everything but Sophocles’ story. It’s meant to be a hybrid of Japanese theatre skip centuries to Hamlet and land on the film, Kill Bill.

The martial arts sequences, miscasting, choppy soundtrack, scene stealing chorus and even the Butoh style bury the story leaving the audience unable to render a verdict of Electra’s guilt.

Audience member Gabriella M. of Italy weighs in:

(Did you know side note: Greek theatre and history are incorporated in Italian school curriculum from Primary school to High School.)

“They needed to integrate the dancing and storytelling more organically. It needs to be a lot more visceral because these characters are clear and raw with emotion and if you don’t have that, you don’t have the story of Electra.”

She also adds, “I liked the music and the alternating quiet and loud scenes is good but overall its an ambitious work that needs to be more precise.”

There are a few gems in Butoh Electra, Yokko as The Mother gives a strong performance. The music composition by Thomas Murphy, is wonderful, although it needs completion- abrupt endings in the middle of the track are jarring. (Perhaps add an under-current of sound.)

BUT ALAS,

Butoh Electra is guilty of relying on action and explosions that has befallen many horrible action films.

BUT THERE IS MORE…

Creator, Jordan Rosin is definitely ambitious and has a lot of potential as a young director. If he is resourceful in the right places while continuing to be bold and experimental, next time he may wow us.

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