Theatrical Review: Ajax

Timothy Neuhaus ’18

“Shall not I learn place and wisdom? Have I not learned this, only so much to hate my enemy, as though he might again become my friend, and so much good to wish to do my friend, as knowing he may yet become my foe?”

Sophocles’ Ajax is one of the tragedian’s earliest works and focuses on the titular character after the events of the Iliad. Although not as well known as Sophocles’ other plays, such as Oedipus Rex or Antigone, it is still a classic Greek tragedy, exploring the themes of anger, vengeance, and pride.

The Southwell Players’ show in February was an impressive rendition as it takes on its adaptation of the tragedy, which is not a small task by any means. The set design, music (courtesy of Mr. Hernandez-Ching’s music composition class), and lighting were beautifully done. Every thespian delivered an intense and captivating performance throughout the entire play, a notable example being Andrew Checchia’s first appearance on stage as Ajax. An interesting concept utilized by the Southwell Players was the blending of modern and ancient. Characters, such as Ajax, were wearing modern military juxtaposed by the Greek camp, language. Other characters dressed in a style that invoked Ancient Greece, Bridget Rasmussen’s Tecmessa being the most notable example. The sprawling set provided an interesting depth to the play through its lighting and design. The music elicited a sense of dread from the audience, fitting for the tragic tone of the play.

Andrew Checchia played Ajax, the once proud, but now fallen Greek hero. Bridget Rasmussen played Tecmessa, the wife of Ajax, who struggles to deal with Ajax’s fall from grace. Makenna Fitzsimmons played the Greek goddess Athena, who, in typical Greek deity fashion, meddles in mortal affairs. Maddie Farrell, Maggie Ryan, and Ian Gere played soldiers and close friends of Ajax who attempt to help Tecmessa with the fallen state of her husband. Trey Riedle played Odysseus, Ajax’ enemy favored by Athena. Ethan Lambright played Teucer, the half-brother of Ajax. Joe Nguyen played Menelaus.