Monday, September 03, 2007

Let's Get Mythic!

So, with great ceremony and abundant cream cheese, Rorschach got its first annual Myth-Appropriation project underway this Sunday at the Sanctuary Theatre at Casa del Pueblo. On hand, six playwrights, six directors, three designers, a couple dozen actors, two artistic directors, Rose (who was on hand to do "stuff") and whatever area rodent creatures dwell in the confines of the theatre, hoping we'd forget some of the food and leave it for them to devour.

We were all on hand because Sunday was the Designated Day of Choosing, and Jenny and Randy had laid out a system in which the choosing would get done, very much like J.K. Rowling's "sorting hat" but without any of the concomitant copyright violations. Also: much more complicated. There were books to open, and boxes to reach into, and finally a cup from which to pluck names. And there was a big piece of plywood. Really, we were just sort of showing off our best props and our coolest piece of wood. But the ceremony was extremely rich in pomp. Such pompfulness. An ocean of briny pomp. Remember that pompy thing you did, that time? This was much pompier.

And by the end, we had shows chosen, directors and designers attached and actors divided up to make for the strutting and the fretting. So, without further ado, here's the lineup for next Saturday night.

The Robber Bridegroom
written by Norman Allen
directed by Andy Wassenich
designed by David Ghatan
and featuring Evan Casey, John Michael McDonald, Heather Gaither, and Lauren Krizner

Of all the Grimm stories chosen, this is probably going to be the most recognizable, most likely because of the Alfred Uhry/Robert Waldman musical. This story was also adapted by Eudora Welty, and has been the inspiration of stories from Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, and Margaret Atwood. Wes Anderson is said to be working on a film adaptation, as well. But only ours will have been written in 24 hours. Top that, Margaret Atwood!

Godfather Death

written by Gwydion Suilebhan
directed by Dan Pruksarnukul
designed by Robbie Hayes
and featuring Nicola Daval, Jeremy Goren, Jason Linkins, and Betsy Rosen

Godfather Death has been described to me as the darkest of the six stories being adapted, so it makes sense that they'd team Betsy Rosen up with three of the Frankensteins--the angstiest, gothiest family to ever appear on Rorschach's stage. The pairing of Gwydion Suilebhan and Dan Pruksarnukul is electric as well, as no writer-director team brings to the table more difficult-to-spell last names.

Hans the Hedgehog
written by Anne M. Macaw
directed by Cathering Tripp
designed by Debra Sivigny
and featuring Daniel Eichner, Michael Grew, Helen Pafumi, and Simone Zvi

All I can tell you about this fairy tale is that bagpipes could play a big role. Will they play a big role? That I don't know. Could they? It's a possibility. Also: this play offers trenchant commentary on the scientific possibility of the human-animal hybrids. Also: Simone Zvi might be the shortest person in the entire production, but this is a matter under dispute. But: bagpipes!

Fairy Tale About A Boy Who Left Home To Learn About Fear
written by Randy Baker
directed by Patrick Torres
designed by Debra Sivigny
and featuring Christopher Dinolfo, Maggie Glauber, Jenny Corbett, and Ghillian Porter

Fairy Tales About A Boy Who Left Home to Learn About Fear (or as the Germans call it, Das Geschichtejungendepartenhauserlernenfurcht) is apparently the longest of the plays, so, naturally, Randy's going to have to write it, because he's the one with all the free time. Also, this is the one play without gender balance, so it would appear that Chris is going to learn about fear from the ladies--just like all boys!

The Devil's Sooty Brother
written by Jacqueline E. Lawton
director by Michael Dove
designed by David Ghatan
and featuring Cesar Guadamuz, Mark Ross, Dana Edwards, and Amanda Thickpenny

Something worth noting: sometimes, when these old fairy tales speak of "the Devil," they may be referring to "Der Teufel," or "Old Scratch," who did not "begin his career as the 'Satan' of Christianity and Judaism." According to my "research"--"The old Devil is a Teutonic woods-spirit, an ogre-like trickster who may desire to eat human flesh, but is often friendly to wood-cutters and footloose soldiers." This story features a soldier, so everyone prepare to "cut footloose!"

The Star Silvers
written by James Hesla
directed by Jessica Burgess
designed by Robbie Hayes
and featuring Sasha Olinick, Jesse Terrill, Adrienne Nelson, and Wendy Wilmer

No one seems to be able to agree on what the title of this story is, so I'm deciding. It's "The Star Silvers." So there. This myth appropriation features the tallest of all possible writer-director-designer teams. Make of that what you will.

So there you have it. Six myths for your viewing pleasure. Now, I know that some of you out there are like: "What about my favorites? What about "The Seven Swabians?" What about "The Bittern and Hoopoe?" Can an audience member get a "Nixie of the Mill-Pond" up in here? Relax, friends, and shut up. We're going to do this every year! And at some point, possibly in the year 2015 (but probably more like 2021), we'll cycle back around to Grimm and get to your favorites. So, stop smoking, wear your seatbelt, and eat plenty of dietary fiber and maybe you'll live to see that day!


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