The Blue Raccoon

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Go see Eurydice, instead.
Instead of maundering about politics and high mis-finance

Laine Satterfield as Eurydice, via Jay Paul, Jay Paul Photgoraphy.

To remind yourself of a world devoid of partisan politics and financial tempests and screaming talking heads, go see the power of metaphor and poetry--and humor-- in action at the Firehouse Theater.

Don't just take my word for it. Here's just one of several reviews praising the production.

"The myth of Orpheus is ancient, the story of how far one will go to reverse the effects of death – and how faith must be strong in order to survive. The story is usually told from the perspective of Orpheus, the world's first musical sensation who uses his fame and abilities to enter the underworld and bargain for the return of his beloved wife. The story is generally about his reaction to his grief, the grief of the living.

In the latest telling of the myth, now playing at the Firehouse Theatre Project, is told from the point of view of Eurydice, the recently deceased maiden. This new version, aptly named Eurydice.

Make no mistake about it, Eurydice is the first great production of the season. Laine Satterfield has the title role and she infuses into it the joys of the young at heart who give their heart away and know that they are loved in return. When she is alive, she is carefree, teasing, the muse to a great musician Orpheus, played by Chris Hester. You might remember Hester from his performance in Reefer Madness, and here he shows his versatility, capturing Orpheus' seriousness towards his music and grief from losing the love of his life.

Joe Inscoe plays Eurydice's father, a part that does not appear in the original myth, but does add an extra layer of depth to the play. The legend becomes a triangular play with Orpheus, Eurydice, and her father each anchoring one point. Now when Eurydice is summoned from the underworld, her father ceremoniously walks her down the aisle as he wanted to do when she got married. Inscoe is a local treasure, one of the few people whose mere presence in a play automatically elevates the production. The scenes were he tries to dance with his daughter and walk her down the aisle are poignant and heart wrenching.

Larry Cook does double duty as the Mysterious Man and the Lord of the Underworld and is particularly creepy in the former and delightfully bizarre in the latter. Other cast members make up the chorus of stones and are played by Andrew Boothby, Jenny Hundley, and Lauren Leinhass-Cook.

Phil Hayes does an amazing job designing a set that is evocative, moody, and serves well as a beach pier and the maze of the underworld. It is one of the best sets I've seen in a while.

Lights were designed my Rich Mason who does a great job giving us the proper mood and keeping the actors in proper light and shadow.
at the Firehouse Theatre Project is magical, poetic, and amazing. It's a very quick play, about an hour and a half without an intermission, and the kind of play you will be glad you experienced."

Twilight of A Cinema God

Paul Newman has died. Here was one of those cultural figures who seemed just to get older and we didn't expect to have him go, like the rest of us, into that final fade out.

Back in 2002, Newman was in a revival production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, playing the Stage Manager. He made a point of getting listed alphabetically in the cast, and when he made his entrance, he did so backward, and did not begin speaking until he turned around -- to keep wild applause from eclipsing the opening mood, and drowning Wilder's words.

Wish I could've seen him, then, live and in person, and had a made it point with Amie--who loves Newman--we could've. One of those things, never again to occur, like seeing Bobby Short at the Carlyle.

Newman was quoted in the New York Times then, that the moral of Our Town is, "Keep your eyes open."

"It is a reminder that he believes the world could use right about now. ''It's just a classic American play,'' Mr. Newman said. ''And there was something that reflects somehow the best of American values in that play that I thought was appropriate in these times.'' Those times, he later said, have been made more difficult by the recent elections. Mr. Newman, a staunch liberal, was disappointed, not only by the outcome but also by the low turnout. ''The number of voters is appalling,'' he said. ''It doesn't take that much to go out and vote. I'd rather go down knowing at least that I had voted my conscience.''

One of his favorite Stage Manager lines was, "You've got to love life to have life, and you've got to have life to love life.''

From The Terrace is for certain not the best film Newman made with his wife Joanne Woodward, mostly because the censors of the time couldn't allow a faithful adaptation of John O' Hara's fat novel about situational morality among the Very Rich. But my goodness, look at them.

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