The Bacchae

Review by Willard Manus

City Garage continues with its trilogy of modern reworkings of Greek tragedy by the Brooklyn-based playwrite, Charles L. Mee. Following AGAMEMNON (which ran this past summer) is Euripides' THE BACCHAE. It portrays Dionysius (Justin Davanzo) as a vain, narcissistic and sociopathic god who uses his looks and loins to whip up a sexual frenzy on earth, only to disappear when his followers experience morning-after remorse and guilt. King Pentheus (Troy Dunn) is a stern, black-visaged moralist who disapproves of the bacchantes's bare-breasted revels and sets off, dressed as a woman, to infiltrate their camp, liberate his mother, Agave (Joan Chodorow), and restore male domininance over the cult, only to get dumped on for his troubles. Without a man or god to control them, the women go beserk and begin tearing each other to pieces. So much for the superior, nurturing "second" sex.

Mees' bleak, politically incorrect vision of human nature (and heavenly indifference) has been given a potent production by City Garage, thanks to Charles A. Duncombe's set & lights, Josephine Poinsot's costumes, Irene Casarez's flute work, Frederique Michel's
direction, and the splendid 14-person cast.

Next on tap is IPHEGENIA. City Garage, 1340 1/2 Fourth St., Santa Monica. Call (310) 319-9939.