I love seeing this kind of work on Canadian stages, particularly stages of this size and reputation, and not just relegated to an indie company with a 50 seat capacity. Soulpepper's production of Idomeneus challenges the audience with form, providing a starkly minimalist, brutal set, with actors in anachronistic modern costume. The adaptation by German Roland Schimmelpfennig (which premiered at Bavarian Staatsschauspiel in 2008) plays both with an irreverence to the language itself, injecting modern phrases within the more traditional speeches and images, and also with a take on the unreliability of memory and how stories are told -- poignant in our "post-truth" times. At times the irreverent language feels out of sorts (I wonder whether it was smoother in German), but as a whole, it is a relevant update to the ancient text.
The production itself was uneven, at times feeling like there was no clear sense from the company on what the tone should be; some actors spoke the text with a classical & declamatory style, while others spoke it in a more colloquial and contemporary manner, with still others in between. Couple this with a rather static choreography (the only real movement seemed to occur in the dark, or in vague and displaced choreographed movement scenes devoid of text), and unfortunately despite the electricity of the language and imagery in this brutalist space, the production fell short of leaving me electrified. In some sense, it felt like the idea of a German production, actualized by Canadians not steeped in the postdramatic style.
All this said, in no way do I discourage people seeing it, as it is boldly un-like work you will see on major stages elsewhere in this country, and for that reason alone it should be on your list. Now, for us to make more....and do it even more successfully.