Enchanting tones and words I couldn’t understand filled the crispy air at the backyard of 190 Jefferson St. Sarah Cline as Electra sang in Greek so beautifully and urgently onstage, I found myself transported for several short minutes to Athens observing an ancient tragedy drama again and again. Director Ariel Kline’s instructions to the actors made my and my mind land back in Bushwick, where Envelope Ensemble has been rehearsing Electra by Euripides (adapted by Adrienne Kennedy) for weeks.

Billy’s Backyard, as the ensemble casually calls William Gaffney’s backyard in Bushwick, makes for the perfect autumnal outdoor theater with an elevated brick stage painted white and blue. Over 40 people can comfortably fit in the audience.

The ancient drama Electra, adapted for contemporary Bushwick, is full of songs, betrayal and blood (naturally), and lasts 50 minutes. As admission, the audience is encouraged to bring an offering for the god Apollo. Suggested offerings include wine, fruit, cash, art and personal items, such as a piece of fabric or hair.

The play premieres tonight at 10PM, and repeats on Saturday at 10PM and Sunday at 8:30PM. A “festival” during which the offerings will be consumed in the praise of Apollo will follow the performance, with DJ Tyger James spinning. Come early to grab a good spot!

Further reading: “A New Wind Blows”: Envelope Ensemble’s Bushwick Debut [The Monitor] 

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