What diva doesn’t dream
of playing the Greek leading ladies—those lusty, bloody heroines and villainesses? A lucky girl may get to act a few of them in her career, but Cusi Cram does five a night in
Euripidames, part of New Georges’ “Watch This Space” festival of new works by women. Writer-actress Cram, aided by a trio of chorus boys, dons a silk robe, a drill sergeant’s khakis, a marabou-trimmed cocktail dress, a wedding gown, and widow’s weeds to portray, respectively, Helen, Clytemnestra, Electra,
Cassandra, and Hecuba.
Cram cleverly modernizes each woman’s story, yet never strays too far from the
underlying mythology. Helen morphs into a shallow society wife while Electra capitalizes on her matricide-induced fame as a cabaret singer. Her big
number: “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” While some of Cram’s characterizations prove fuller than others, her performance equals the strength of her
material. She turns tragedies into a triumph.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 4, 1999