In this darkly provocative, postmodern exploration of Ovid’s horrifictale,a polished five-women ensemble transforms one brutal fable into a strikinglytheatrical feast. Reminiscent of Julie Taymor’s reconception inTitus, director Sonnet Blanton and actor Julia M. Smith have reshapedgruesome raw material (rape, torture, incestuous cannibalism) into a sharpand evocative pastiche: A rapid-fire litany of carnival-barker jokes couldbe straight out of The Aristocrats while a viciously funny game ofcatch between a king (played with ball-grabbing assurance and a Dubyaaccent) and his unctuous son-in-law is no less disarming. The show (mostly)resists the kind of women-studies haranguing a story this bitter couldprovoke and allows the stripped-down stage images—simulated synchronizedswimming, storms of white feathers, unfurling red balloons—to speak forthemselves. The strong cast—Aimee Lasseigne, Carra Martinez, AdrienneMishler, Carla Witt and Smith herself—steps lightly from part to part.These ladies can shimmy to Aretha Franklin as confidently as they canbackstroke 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.