You've probably heard of The Odyssey, a classic piece of literature written almost three thousand years ago by a blind poet named Homer. Well, the Long Beach Playhouse is turning Homer on his head, retelling the story with the help of puppets, masks and shadow puppets. They're also focusing on one of the coolest parts of The Odyssey -- the one with the Cyclops! Although The Cyclops is set back in the 8th-century B.C., the dialogue is lightened up with references from contemporary times including lines from musicals, songs, poems and pop culture references. The production is both serious and not, in the best sense of contrast. Please note that although this show has puppets, it's not intended for children.
Directed by Playhouse artistic director, Andrew Vonderschmitt this play features the acting talent of several veterans and a few newcomers to The Playhouse.
Narrator: Dale Jones
Silenus: Douglas Seagraves
Satyr (Cat): Prisilla Cobb
Satyr (Fox): Ziyad Kahn
Satyr (Snake): Kari Venaas
Satyr (Osterich): Anna-Kate Mohler
Satyr (Flamingo): Tiffany Powell
Odysseus: Paul Bouyear
Cyclops: Skip Blas
Director: Andrew Vonderschmitt
Asst. Director/Puppets: David Scaglione
Stage Manager: Alex Shewchuk
Asst. Stage Manager: Saphron Brauer
Costume Design: Donna Fritsche
Asst. Costume Design: Martina Jeans
Set Design: Naomi Kasahara
Light Design: Danny Driskol
Sound Design/Composer: Andy Zacharius
Prop Master: Stacy Hennon
Technical Director: Sean Gray
"In its original incarnation The Cyclops was a Satyr play; absurd and burlesque. In the Athenian Dionysia (playwright competitions), each playwright customarily entered tragedies and one Satyr play to be performed as a spirited entertainment, a comic relief to break the
oppression of hours of gloomy, fatalistic, formulaic tragedy," said Vonderschmitt
What would a Greek tragedy be without a Greek Chorus, and satyrs? All are there in this production and in spades. There are hand puppets and shadow puppets adding the kind of whimsy that borders on weird but is so compelling you can't look away. It is guaranteed you won't want to.
Special events for this play:
Thursday, October 11 @ 8pm: Pay-What-You-Can Dress Rehearsal
Friday, October 12 @ 8pm: Two-For-One Preview
Saturday, October 13 @ 8pm: Opening Night Gala w/ Cast and Crew
The show opens on Saturday, October 13 and continues on Friday nights (8 p.m.), Saturday nights (8 p.m.) and Sunday matinees, (2 p.m.) through Saturday, November 10, 2012.
Adults are $24.00, seniors $21.00, and Students $14.00. Tickets are available at www.lbplayhouse.org, or by calling 562-494-1014, option 1.
Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, Calif., right across from the Long Beach Recreation golf course. The Playhouse is community-supported theatre with programs and events that cut across age, gender, ethnic, and cultural boundaries.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Lewis