Michael Kahn turns to a timeless play from ancient Greece to send off his career

By Peter Marks
Theater critic
May 7

For his valedictory production as Shakespeare Theatre Company’s artistic director, Michael Kahn has chosen to take us back to the dawn of Western drama. It’s a harrowing excursion to be sure. But in his heart-stopping mounting of Aeschylus’s tragedy, “The Oresteia,” the final destination is not despair. It’s hope.

What a fitting and consoling point of conclusion from a director whose career has been guided so consequentially by the wisdom of the past. If “The Oresteia” — lyrically compressed and otherwise inspirationally modified by Ellen McLaughlin — sets sail on a river of blood, it floats back in on a tide of grace.