Preview: AU Arts presents magic and myth in ‘Argonautika’
Department of Performing Arts finishes 2016-17 season with imaginative retelling of a classic story
Featuring comedy, drama, goddesses, sea monsters and giants, the AU Department of Performing Arts’ production of “Argonautika” will present an ancient Greek myth with a twist on March 30 at the Greenberg Theatre.
After two semesters of sensational musicals and plays, DPA is bringing its 2016-17 season to a close with playwright Mary Zimmerman’s irreverent adaptation of the classic tale of Jason and the Argonauts.
Director Isaiah Wooden is a longtime fan of Zimmerman, whose work he describes as “magic on stage.” Wooden considered several of her plays while selecting DPA’s final show of the season, but was ultimately drawn to the thrilling story and compelling themes of “Argonautika.”
“Argonautika” follows the heroic Jason and his intrepid crew, known as the Argonauts, as they embark on a risky quest to retrieve the treasured Golden Fleece. While voyaging across Greece, Jason and and the Argonauts must dodge deadly monsters and manipulative goddesses.
The play is adapted from a Greek epic poem of the same name, and retells the classic story in a way that Wooden described as “decidedly postmodern.” By blending new with old and highlighting the play’s self-referential and ironic tone, Wooden brings Zimmerman’s script to life in DPA’s production.
“Our hope is that it will resonate with audiences as at once timeless and timely,” Wooden said.
AU’s production will feature a sizeable cast of 22 performers, all of whom fully embrace Zimmerman’s “theatrical imagination and bold approach to storytelling,” Wooden said.
College of Arts and Sciences junior Camille Cote, who portrays the notoriously jealous Greek goddess Hera, said she found it challenging to embody her character’s occasionally “vengeful nature.”
“Hera is the first character I have gotten to play who is way out of my typecast, and who really has an evil streak,” Cote said. “But after researching Hera, I found a surprising amount of common ground with her. I still feel like I am learning more about the character every day and working to find the power she naturally has.”
After weeks of practice and run-throughs, Cote said she appreciated seeing the show come together during technical rehearsal.
“I loved watching the lighting, set, and sound come into the scenes,” Cote said. “And I love watching the way my peers have used that energy to create really exciting characters.”
Performances of “Argonautika” will take place in the Greenberg Theatre on March 30-31 and April 1 at 8 p.m. and April 1 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase here.