Strauss: Elektra, Long Beach Opera, Long Beach, California, 2001
Strauss: Elektra, Long Beach Opera, Long Beach, California, 2001

Marsha Ginsberg, Set Designer
Audrey Fisher, Costume Designer
Geoff Korf, Lighting Designer

The stifling air of post-Trojan War Mycenae re-imagined in the pristine surroundings of post-WW2 America. Modernism’s attempt to embrace nature was an asian-influenced denial of the War’s destructive, messy power. The case study house – an American attempt to wash away the ugliness of what we never really had to see during WW2, seemed to us the perfect place to set Strauss and Hoffmanthal’s retelling of the postwar Elektra story. This Elektra was no vagabond baglady, but rather the rebellious, ignored daughter who refused to clean her room, to play with Barbies, or to accept her mother’s new husband. Inspired by the melodramatic films of Douglas Sirk and the naïvete of The Brady Bunch, we chose to play this Elektra in the full light of day, without blood or animal sacrifice as a story not about icons of revenge and motherhood, but about real people whose past and present do not match up with their picture-perfect surroundings – a Freudian tale of a girl who has not yet accepted that her parents have lives of their own.