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TO YOU, THE BIRDIE! (PHEDRE)

Posted on

To You, the Birdie! (Phedre)

type:
Stage
Current Status:
In Season
performer:
Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand

We gave it a B+

Video monitors, breaking glass, sliding panels, monster-movie thuds, flashes of flesh, and several actual games of badminton are featured prominently in this passionate obliteration of French playwright Racine’s 300-year-old tragedy Phedre (Queen mother tries to sleep with stepson, then cries rape). The crackling, high-energy deployment of technology — plus a stage starlit by Frances McDormand and Willem Dafoe — has resulted in a surprisingly ticket-hungry audience for what you might call an extreme work. The sound design alone is a brain-clarifying shock to the senses! It’s one of the biggest hits ever for the Wooster Group, a Soho-based ensemble that’s held to its prophetic pomo/techno vision for two decades. They’ve whipped up a wave of electricity that’ll power this production long after its limited run in New York, as it makes its way to London and L.A.