GREEK myth meets modern reality in Gary Owen’s “horribly relevant” one-woman drama Iphigenia In Splott at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, from Wednesday to Saturday.
Under the direction of Jim Paterson, York company Black Treacle Theatre presents Livy Potter in a 75-minute monologue about Effie, whose life spirals through a mess of drink, drugs and drama every night, and a hangover worse than death the next day, until one incident gives her the chance to be something more.
Set in contemporary Cardiff, Owen’s play is rooted in the ancient tale of Iphigenia being sacrificed by her father to placate the gods. Effie, in turn, is the kind of woman to avoid eye contact with in the street when she is drunk at 11.30am in the morning.
Named by the Guardian in its list of the 50 best plays of the 21st century, on account of being a “shattering modern classic that distils all our troubles”, Iphigenia In Splott is both a portrait of a woman whose life is turned upside down by the events of one night and a broader picture of the brutal impact of austerity on communities across Britain.
Director Paterson says “Iphigenia In Splott is a play about our country right now. It was originally written in 2015, but remains horribly relevant when we consider the state of our public services, the cost-of-living crisis and what this means for those already struggling to get by – who are too often forgotten or ignored by those in power.
“What makes it such a brilliantly rich play is the unforgettable character of Effie, and the poetry and lyricism in the language that Gary Owen has written for her. This gives it an emotional heft and weight that I think will be incredibly cathartic for an audience.”
Livy Potter, the sole actor on stage throughout, says: “It’s such a privilege to be given the chance to play Effie. As soon as I read the play, I knew I had to accept the challenge; it’s poetic, emotional, witty and riveting.
“I can’t wait to share this story with York audiences. It’s been great to work with Jim again, having been directed by him in York Settlement Community Players’ production of Christopher Durang’s comedy Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike last November. To be back performing at Theatre@41 is fantastic too.”
Paterson is joined in the production team by lighting designer Ivy Magee and set designer Richard Hampton with technical support from Sam Elmer.
Black Treacle Theatre in Iphigenia In Splott, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.