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The Philomel Project

A viciously seductive and visually stunning retelling of one of Ovid's darkest tales.

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In this darkly provocative, postmodern exploration of Ovid's horrific tale, a polished five-women ensemble transforms one brutal fable into a strikingly theatrical feast. Reminiscent of Julie Taymor's reconception in Titus, director Sonnet Blanton and actor Julia M. Smith have reshaped gruesome raw material (rape, torture, incestuous cannibalism) into a sharp and evocative pastiche: A rapid-fire litany of carnival-barker jokes could be straight out of The Aristocrats while a viciously funny game of catch between a king (played with ball-grabbing assurance and a Dubya accent) and his unctuous son-in-law is no less disarming. The show (mostly) resists the kind of women-studies haranguing a story this bitter could provoke and allows the stripped-down stage images—simulated synchronized swimming, storms of white feathers, unfurling red balloons—to speak for themselves. The strong cast—Aimee Lasseigne, Carra Martinez, Adrienne Mishler, Carla Witt and Smith herself—steps lightly from part to part. These ladies can shimmy to Aretha Franklin as confidently as they can backstroke in Busby Berkeley formation.

The Philomel Project
By Sonnet Blanton and Julia M. Smith
Performance Space 122 - Upstairs
Fri, Aug 12 at 10:30 p.m.; Wed, Aug 17 at 5 p.m.; Thu, Aug 18 at 8:45 p.m.; Fri, Aug 19 at 8:45 p.m.; Sat, Aug 20 at 2:45 p.m.


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