Review: APT Winter Words kick-off gives fresh view of ‘real life’

Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

A screenshot from APT’s Winter Words reading of “Agamemnon.”

American Players Theatre (APT) has returned its annual Winter Words play reading series that provides the audience with a unique glimpse into the minds and personalities of APT actors and directors.

The winter words series began Feb. 22, kicking off with a somewhat modernized version of “Agamemnon,” a Greek tragedy originally created by Aeschylus, and adapted by Simon Scardifield and directed by David Daniel.

The performance of the play itself was wonderful, the actors showcased the characters in an engaging way that kept me interested throughout a play I otherwise wouldn’t be interested in. Greek classics have always been something I struggle to understand and follow, but in this adaption I followed the plot with ease.

What really stood out to me with this premier was the Q&A period with the actors, director and Brenda Devita. Not only did the audience ask wonderful, conversation-inducing questions, they were met with smart and engaging answers—it truly gave the audience a glimpse into the incredible, notorious mind of David Daniel as he spoke excitedly about all aspects of the adaptation, casting choices, the symbolism, imagery and relevance of this piece.

While I was listening to this intelligent conversation, I couldn’t help but think that this was sort of the APT version of sharing your pets on your work zoom call. (Bare with me, I promise it makes sense).

As you were watching not only the reading but listening to the actors share their thoughts, occasionally throwing in a joke or a callback to APT plays past, you realized that you were seeing a unique side of these actors.

Suddenly they weren’t just actors but regular people sitting in their homes, experiencing the same pandemic and working hard to continue doing what they love.

For the residents of this area, the APT actors who live locally may just simply be your neighbor, someone you see at Hometown buying a gallon of milk, but to the thousands of outside fans, these are the people who transport them away from reality, the infamous APT actors. This reading provided such a unique opportunity to break that fourth wall and get an up close and personal view of the actual, real people they are familiar with, not the people they portray.

I think it’s exactly what we needed right now.