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‘Ajax’ debuts at California Theater

Delivers on some, falls short on others

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‘Ajax’ debuts at California Theater

Devareary Williams, Ajax, delivers impassioned speech.

Devareary Williams, Ajax, delivers impassioned speech.

Marc Lopez

Devareary Williams, Ajax, delivers impassioned speech.

Marc Lopez

Marc Lopez

Devareary Williams, Ajax, delivers impassioned speech.

Marc Lopez, @KaptainMarc

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“Ajax” may be a historical Greek play but that did not stop the LMC Drama Department from modernizing it for audiences at the California Theater.

Nick Garcia and the rest of the cast did an impressive job making setting “Ajax” in modern times. Garcia sat down with everyone during production to figure out how to achieve this and their efforts were reflected in their choice of translation, costume design and music for the play. However, achieving the modern feel came with a few issues.

Bryan Doerries is the credited translator of “Ajax.” His translation is excerpted from “All That You’ve Seen Here is God: New Versions of Four Greek Tragedies.” Sadly, using this translation does not allow the changing of the language within the play. This caused a few rough moments throughout the play.

“No matter what when we are in a play, we are not allowed to change a word that’s said,” said Garcia. “Someone spent a long time making sure the translation fits. Every word that is written is the word we have to say.”’

One big win for “Ajax” were the costumes. Some of the crew are service members and they helped make sure everyone’s attire was accurate to their ranking. In fact, the man who plays Ajax, Devareary Williams, is a veteran.

“Ajax” is portrayed as a bloodthirsty maniac who later snaps out of his madness and is forced to face the harsh reality of his actions. Williams stated that playing Ajax was rewarding, but tough.

“I had to dig deep into stuff that I haven’t thought about in a long time,” said Williams. “I think the end result was fantastic.”

Believing Ajax is a maniac was very strong at the beginning but lines such as “cold blooded killer” spoken after his death loses the believability. However, Ajax’s death sets off a conflict between villains Agamemnon, played by Casey Ellsworth, and Menelaus, played by Jason Wolcott, against Teucer, played by Logan Boner, escalate into a solid performance from all three men.

Another nod to an excellent performance must be credited to the chemistry between Ajax and his wife Tecmessa, played by Priscila Rodriguez. Williams and Rodriguez have played couples in plays before and it really shows when the two are on stage together.

Overall the hour and 20 minute play is respectable, but falls short in some areas. The actor’s believability fluctuates like the stock market. However, the cast and crew did their best to portray these ancient characters and made sure they felt modern enough so audiences could relate to them.

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‘Ajax’ debuts at California Theater