The Bunker Trilogy: Agamemnon
Unexpected perspective on a wartime relationship
This article is from 2013.
For the second chapter of The Bunker Trilogy, it’s the ancient Greek legend of Agamemnon that gets translated to a first world war setting, putting the titular character overseas in Germany while his wife, Clytemnestra, languishes at home in England. Squeezing out all the romance retrospectively assigned to wartime sweethearts, Agamemnon explores the disintegration of a marriage between two damaged lovers, asking what happens when the woman left behind longs for the death – rather than safe return – of her soldier husband.
The play’s strength rests on the unreservedly cruel, but pitiable, characters it puts forth; however, they’re called Greek epics for a reason, with the play struggling to fit that much drama and tragedy into one hour (even eliciting a laugh when Clytemnestra abruptly asks her new love Aegisthus – very seriously – to help ensure her husband’s death). As with all trilogies, the middle part of Bunker is the soggiest. But it lends an unexpected and feminine perspective on the most machismo of genres, unsettling notions of hero soldiers and selfless war brides, courtesy of an engaging troupe of actors.
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