Neoclassical French drama is most famous for its rigid adherence to the theory that nothing interesting must ever be shown onstage. Instead, the plot is advanced by the characters confessing to each other all the amazing things that happened offstage. This makes the plot of Phèdre a game of telephone gone horribly wrong: Phèdre, wife of the missing King Theseus, confesses her love for her stepson, just after he has confessed his love for a political prisoner, who in turn confesses her love for him ... and by the time it all gets back to the returned king (who had some amazing adventures offstage), it has become an accusation of incest and political plotting. This leads to a suicide (which happens offstage), a brutal fight with a monster (which happens offstage), and a bloody death by chariot accident (which happens offstage), before everything is sorted out by — what else? — another confession. If anybody in Phèdre could keep a secret, the show would be 10 minutes long. Still, this A.C.T. production directed by Carey Perloff and presented in association with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival has plenty of virtues to brag about: The acting is exceptional (especially Roberta Maxwell as Oenone), the metallic set somehow manages to be beautiful and avant-garde without getting in the way, and the translation — seeing its world debut — by Timberlake Wertenbaker often leaps off the stage, sounding both naturalistic to Anglophone ears and eloquent in a way that would do author Jean Racine proud. Anyone who isn't put off by the idea of a play that is essentially a series of interlocking monologues will find Phèdre a treat. Everyone else should wait for the next production of dear old Shakespeare, who had the decency to kill his characters where we could see them.