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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

APT's Formidable 'Cure at Troy'

Theater Review

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When does personal integrity outrank duty? Can one overcome hatred, even when it's the justifiable result of suffering grievous wrongs?

Such questions plague the small cast of The Cure at Troy, American Players Theatre's final—and perhaps most powerful—production of the season performed in APT's intimate Touchstone Theatre. Author Seamus Heaney's study, based on Sophocles' Philoctetes and directed by APT Producing Artistic Director David Frank, delivers powerfully on its theme of honor versus commitment.

A mortally wounded Philoctetes (a brilliant David Daniel), abandoned to die on a deserted island a decade before by Odysseus (Jonathan Smoots), possesses a magical bow, the only weapon that will enable the Greeks to win the siege at Troy. Odysseus dispatches young Neoptolemus (Paul Hurley) to win it back, but fails to consider the young man's own sense of morality.

As Philoctetes, suffering from a never-healing serpent bite to the heel and consumed by his hatred for those who abandoned him, Daniel delivers a career-defining performance. As Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, Hurley masterfully suffers his own moral quandary while the traditional Greek chorus (Sarah Day, Ashleigh LaThrop and Tiffany Scott) is untraditionally used in this brilliant, poetic update of Sophocles' often forgotten tragedy.
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