Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thoughts: Prometheus Bound Review at Paper Wing theatre

o... I went to see "Prometheus Bound" last night at the Paper Wing Theatre. Consider me blown away.

Jourdain Barton's direction and approach the material is amazing and I absolutely LOVED LOVE LOVED this show! Based on the mythology of Prometheus, the Titan who dared to take a stand on behalf of humanity and deliver fire unto them. Often used as a symbol for Socialism and Communism, mainly because Karl Marx read the story in one way. Bartons' approach to the material seems far different, however... at least to this viewer. Prometheus is a champion of liberty and opportunity, a Titan who saw the potential of Man to harness the fire and find the arts, to find production, to lift the yolk of tyranny from their own necks through individual effort. Prometheus taunts the supporters of Zeus that have come to gloat, he mocks their subservience and glories in his own suffering because he has already seen what it will lead to. He has been gifted with blessing/curse of foresight and he knows what his actions have inspired from Man.

Timothy Samaniego is a compelling and amazing actor to watch in the title role, and the courage of Prometheus to stand so tall in the face of tyranny, to stand for liberty and self-reliance and the will and ability of humanity to overcome the yolk of power is amazing to watch. His suffering is palpable and the "advice" from those who visit him is absolutely relevant to the political climate of today. We feel his pain as he is chained to the rock, we feel his anguish as he's driven to bouts of madness through his visions, and we glory in his willingness to spit in the face of such punishment. Prometheus suffers but he knows the suffering will bear out in the end, and his purpose does not fall on deaf ears. I was nearly driven to my feet in glee from a transformation that takes place near the end of the show, embodied by the performances from Taylor Noel Young and the director herself.

Erik James Morton provides a slight comic relief in the role of Oceanus, an opportunist who is easily swayed by the motion of the times... the "get along to go along" sort of person, likened to that part in ourselves that choose to not make waves. (pun intended) He's willing to take to the defense of his brother, to dare offer advice to the ever so reasonable Zeus if only his brother will agree to just "get along" with the flow of the times... and the chained, beaten, battered, and tortured Prometheus treats his fellow Titan with nothing short of pity. He already knows where all of this could lead, after all. Morton pulls double duty in the show, so let me also say that the comic relief he brings to Oceanus is in stark contrast to the intense remorse of Hephaestus, the god charged my Zeus with the binding of Prometheus to the forsaken rock.

And then Tatum Tollner brings the audience to tears in the second act. Changed into a cow and chased to the ends of the earths by stinging gadflies as punishment from a jealous Hera, Io finds herself standing before Prometheus and is forced to recount her tale. She demands that the Titan tell her of her fate, to which the Titan complies and her suffering is not near its' end. Her only comfort will be in the knowledge that her offspring in several generations will bring about the end of Zeus' tyranny, that by the hand of her own descendant will Prometheus be freed.

And that brings us to Hermes, portrayed by the Lucas Tovey. Glittering and golden hued, Hermes is the very image of a God on stage. Lucas' has a demanding presence, but the image is not of heroism. His taunting, demanding, and threatening burn the audience to rightful anger as he delivers the demands of Zeus.

The Program offers insight to the director and her goals with bringing this vision to the stage. Producers Koly McBride and LJ Brewer have given voice to one of the most daring productions and their Gallerie Theater offers a proud opportunity for student directors to learn their own voices. I look forward to other productions in the small theater and give kudos to every single person involved with this production. As a fan of Greek Mythology it was an absolute thrill to see Prometheus brought to life on stage.

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