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Georgetown theater group presents

premiere of local playwright’s work

(Published March 27, 2000)

By SAM STRIKE

Staff Writer

Local playwright William Ramsay has turned a Greek tragedy into a humorous one in his adaptation of the ancient myth Agamemnon. The George-town Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of Ramsay’s adaptation through April 15.

In the myth, the noble king Agamemnon sacrifices his oldest daughter to a god for a win in the battle against Troy, and his wife kills him for it. In Ramsay’s adaptation, Agamemnon is portrayed as an alienated father, rather than a king.

"It’s almost hard to do some of the Greek tragedies straight because they’re so unbelievably serious and monolithic, but (Ramsay) found the humor in characters being so stubborn and unyielding," said Catherine Aselford, who plays the role of Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra, in the local theater company’s multicultural cast.

In Ramsay’s play, the gods aren’t "nice," and they are anachronistically equipped with cell phones and pagers, Aselford said.

In addition to Aselford, the cast features Chuck Young, Ricardo Evans, Yan Xi, Ron Tucker and Mikael Manoukian.

The production is directed by A. Lorraine Robinson, who has worked locally at Arena Stage. Robinson said the merging of classical Greek and avant garde genres drew her to Ramsay’s "irreverent modern adaptation" of Agamemnon.

Many local theaters, including Woolly Mammoth, have presented staged readings of Ramsay’s plays. Several of his plays have also been performed at the Source Theatre’s Washington Theatre Festival.

Performances of "Agamemnon" are at 8 p.m. at Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW. For ticket information, call the Georgetown Theatre Company at (703) 271-7770.

Copyright 2000, The Common Denominator