The heroine of our story Melanie (Tracy Lynn Olivera) has a unique magical ability. She can bring the characters of literature into our world. Over the next several weeks I will be introducing you all to the characters that people the world of Rough Magic and the actors who will bring them to life. Since this is a play with a dramaturg at its heart it is only right and fitting that you all get to experience the kind of digging that the actors have to perform in order to understand just who in the heck they are bringing to life on stage. Today we look at The Furies.
As the tag line says for Rough Magic says, "creating a modern tale of thrills, chills and drag queen furies." What do we mean by drag queen furies?
Wikipedia as always provides the bare bones of what we are talking about when we mention these creatures of myth.
In Greek mythology the Erinyes (Ερινύες) or Eumenides (the Romans called them the Furies) were female personifications of vengeance. When a formulaic oath in the Iliad (iii.278ff; xix.260ff) invokes "those who beneath the earth punish whoever has sworn a false oath. The Erinyes are simply an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath" (Burkert 1985 p 198). They were usually said to have been born from the blood of Ouranos when Cronus castrated him. According to a variant account, they issued from an even more primordial level—from Nyx, "Night". Their number is usually left indeterminate, though Virgil, probably working from an Alexandrian source, recognized three: Alecto ("unceasing," who appeared in Virgil's Aeneid), Megaera ("grudging"), and Tisiphone ("avenging murder"). The heads of the Erinyes were wreathed with serpents (compare Gorgon), their eyes dripped with blood, and their whole appearance was horrific and appalling. Sometimes they had the wings of a bat or bird, or the body of a dog.
We too have three furies, but as you may have come to expect from a Rorschach production ours are not Virgil's furies. Melanie has brought the Furies into our world and now they are drag queens working as singers at a club in Manhattan. For the purposes of our story though the one you need to keep your eyes on is Tisiphone, as played by Rorschach Theatre's own Grady Weatherford. Melanie comes to Tisiphone for the kind of help only a fury can supply.
Did I mention that our furies are performers? Here are some of the first shots of our furies as they strut their stuff in what I believe to be Rorschach's first non-severed-pig's- head dance number ever. Grady is backed up by Rorschach vet Gwen Grastorf and new comer Lee Liebeskind. I hope this taste of what is to come whets your appetite for the bizarre as much as it does mine.
Costume designer Frank Labowitz has promised to deck our furies in all the glitz and glamour befitting the spirits of vengeance, as they sing and dance their way into your heart. Or at least make an attempt to grab it still beating from your chest.