Saturday, March 7, 2009

Flaming Sally!

Miss Jackie and I had the pleasure of going to the Know Theatre for a preview of the regional premiere of Eurydice, the retelling of the story of Orpheus through the eyes of his wife in a modern context. 

To sum it up: the story of Orpheus is a classic Greek tragedy and one of the most beautiful and horrible love stories of all time. When told through the eyes of Orpheus, the story can be breathtaking and beautiful and heartbreaking... which is, likely, why it's usually told through the eyes of Orpheus. Apparently, the tale of his wife is far less interesting.

In Eurydice, I kept waiting for some emotional climax ... or buildup ... or any emotion at all, and was left disappointed. It felt vapid and melodramatic. Unlike New Stage Collective's Dead City, where I enjoyed the acting and was bored by the story line, I got the story line this time. I understood completely what was going on (I get it, I get it, water=forgetfulness, string=remembrance), but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it. Miss Jackie and I spent most of the time trying not to turn to each other and make jokes about the absurdities on stage, but they were too close and there were few too people in the theatre that they would probably hear our jokes.

The two most interesting roles -- the nasty, interesting man/lord of the underworld and the chorus of stones -- were not on stage to actually enjoy them. The poor actresses who played the stones were on stage for 80% of the show and had probably 50-75 total lines though you wished they kept up their commentary. There were only a few times when you were uncomfortable with their delivery. The actor who played the nasty, interesting man/lord of the underworld, Daniel Hines, proved that there really are no small parts, only small actors. Hines was the most memorable out of the whole cast and was the most interesting. 

The remainder of the cast was passable and they, no doubt, perform marvelously in other shows but this was clearly not their strongest bit. Courtney Brown (Eurydice), I think, needs to play stronger roles and not simpering would-be brides who takes every opportunity to tear up. And she definitely does not need to be in any love scenes -- in fact, the introductory scene between her and Orpheus (Fang Du) was just damned uncomfortable for all the forced acting. Du's acting of Orpheus's growing hysteria for the loss of his bride was simply unmentionable except to mention that it was forced. And the role should, I think, be played by someone with a singing voice and/or an ability to play the violin. Eurydice's father, played by Robert Pavlovich (I've seen him somewhere before -- where?), was not all that awful, just completely forgettable. 

I did love, however, the set. I have kind of a bit of sympathy for the techies who had to clean up afterwards -- all that water everywhere, and all those wet costumes!!! The set was well thought out and masterfully pulled off, though I wanted too scream when Eurydice's father started pulling apart his daughter's "room." As Jackie turned to me and said, "We saw him put that shit together -- do we have to watch it come down, as well?" I think that was a fair assessment. Each time was three or four minutes of absolutely no action and absolutely nothing interesting coming except reinforcing the damn string motif. The elevator was a stroke of brilliance. The only major draw back was the dripping shower heads into the pools long after the water was "turned off," though I enjoyed the effect as a set piece.

Per our scale, the full price ticket is $12 for the showing of Know Theatre's Eurydice, and you will probably only get $6 of enjoyment out of the experience. 

What follows is the preview as put out on YouTube by the Know. The preview is focused almost completely on Orpheus, which I think is telling of how the show was done ... without a real point and definitely off track. Overall, there was absolutely nothing ground breaking about the performance, and I definitely didn't feel that it was the greatest love story ever told as the preview suggests. 

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