PREMIERED AT SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL, BLACK POINT BATTERY, FORT MASON, SAN FRANCISCO, CA (2017)
Compiled by Amy Lewis from sixteen versions of the Electra myth (see references
Amelia Bonvento, Katherine House, Joyce Lien Kushner, Mary Katherine
Patterson, Daphne Zneimer
16 Electras began with Lewis’ research for the project My Obsession with Hamletmachine. Seeing as Electra is a key character in Müller’s play, Lewis read all of the versions of the Electra myth that were written in or translated into English. Though each version referenced is slightly different, one characteristic remains the same: Electra’s conviction and determination. She holds her her own truth, refuses to change her mind, and finds whatever way she can to take action. Lewis took words or phrases from sixteen of these, listed below, to be used as song lyrics that dictates an extremely simplified version of the Electra myth. Using many of Lewis’ original lyrics–some were cut–Agnes Szelag created six songs that outline Electra in her many phases: princess, outcast, mourner, coercer, murderess, and criminal. Early on Lewis wanted to set 16 Electras in a public, outside space, which she believed symbolized and celebrated two ideas: 1) the original Electra, by Sophocles, is in the public domain and can be accessed by all, and 2) the power inherent in unwavering belief in oneself. The San Francisco International Arts Festival offered several outside spaces to Lewis; she felt that the beauty and peace of the Black Point Battery site, along with its violent connotations (the huge cannon in the center of the space), represented Electra perfectly.
1. Aeschylus. Libation-bearers. Trans. Hugh Lloyd-Jones. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1988.
2. Alfaro, Luis. “Electricidad.” Trans. Helen E. Moritz. Text and Presentation. Ed. Stratos E. Constantinidis. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2007.
3. Euripides. “Electra.” Trans. Elizabeth Wyckoff. The Complete Greek Tragedies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.
4. Galdós, Benito Pérez. Electra. Charleston: Bibliobazaar, 2008.
5. Giraudoux, Jean. “Electra.” Trans. Phyllis La Sarge. Three Plays. New York: Hill and Wang, 1964.
6. H.D. “A Dead Priestess Speaks”. Collected Poems, 1912-1944. New York: New Directions Books, 1983.
7. Hofmannsthal, Hugo von. Elektra: Tragic Opera in One Act. Music by Richard Strauss. Trans. Charles T. Mason. London: Fürstner Limited, 1909.
8. Kis, Danilo. “Elektra.” Trans. John K. Cox. Night and Fog: The Collected Dramas and Screenplays of Danilo Kis. Budapest: Helena History Press, 2014.
9. Miller, Frank, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jim Novak, et al. Elektra Assassin. New York: Marvel Comics, 2000.
10. O’Neill, Eugene. “Mourning Becomes Electra.” Three Plays. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.
11. Plath, Sylvia. “Electra on Azalea Path”; “Daddy”. The Collected Poems. Cutchogue: Buccaneer Books, 196s0.
12. Pound, Ezra and Rudd Fleming. Elektra. Ed. Richard Reid. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.
13. Ritsos, Yannis. The New Oresteia. Trans. George Pilitsis and Philip Pastras. New York: Pella Publishing Company, Inc.,
14. Sartre, Jean-Paul. “The Flies.” Trans. I. Abel. No Exit and Three Other Plays. New York: Vintage International, 1989.
15. Sophocles. Electra. Trans. Anne Carson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
16. Yourcenar, Marguerite. “Electra, or the Fall of the Masks.” Trans. Dori Katz. Plays. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1984.