PHAEDRA’S LOVE (Svaha Theatre Collective): 2018 Fringe review

phaedras-loveLoosely based on the Euripides play, PHAEDRA’S LOVE is Sarah Kane at her nihilistic best. In her version, there’s little reason for Phaedra (Amanda Schoonover) to be in love with deadbeat stepson Hippolytus (Thierry Saintine). His rejection is of her, but also of love, of himself, of any potential of happiness or entertainment or meaning. 

Elise D’Avella’s direction contrasts the emotion of Phaedra and her daughter Strophe (Rachel O’Hanlon-Rodriguez) with the disaffected numbness of Hippolytus, which Saintine perfectly captures. There’s plenty of romance-less sex and brutal violence, but D’Avella downplays Kane’s shock-theater, heightening the seriously dark humor and sharply honest existential hopelessness. Two decades after her suicide, Kane remains one of the most truthful voices in theater. Svaha’s production captures her brilliance.

[Mascher Space Cooperative, 155 Cecil B. Moore Avenue] September 13-22, 2018; fringearts.com/event/phaedras-love

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.