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Adapted and directed by Ellen Stewart, HERAKLES VIA PHAEDRA combines
the myths of Herakles (also known as Hercules) and Phaedra, placing them
amongst the flappers, bootleggers and jazz babies of the 1920's. (This
marks Ms. Stewart's second time visiting the Herakles legend - a very
different production, set in the 80s, debuted at La MaMa in 1987.)
In HERAKLES VIA PHAEDRA, Herakles must prove his godliness and atone for
a hideous crime against his wife and two sons by performing a series of
twelve labors, from killing a fierce lion to bare-handedly capturing a
three-headed dog. Meanwhile in the court of Aphrodite, a handmaiden named
Phaedra sets out to win the heart of a king, only to find herself falsely
accused of having a love affair with her stepson. Herakles and Phaedra's
stories intertwine, leading one to a tragic end and the other to glory.
Set though it is in the 1920's, this world-premiere production of HERAKLES
VIA PHAEDRA will retain the inimitable international flavor that is a
trademark of Ms. Stewart's body of work at La MaMa.
HERAKLES VIA PHAEDRA will have choreography by Renouard Gee, with Bharata
Natyam (South Indian Dance) by Kamala Cesar of Lotus Studios, and Flamenco
by Shigeko Suga; accompanied by original music composed by Genji Ito,
Michael Sirotta, Heather Paauwe and Ellen Stewart.
HERAKLES VIA PHAEDRA also features bird and centaur puppets by Federico
Restrepo, and masks by Gretchen Green; with set design by Jun Maeda; sound
by Tim Schellenbaum; and projections created especially for this production
by Jeffrey Issac.
For more than three decades, Ellen Stewart has presented numerous adaptations
of Greek classics at La MaMa. Last season, she and the Great Jones Repertory
Company offered a world-premiere adaptation of the rarely staged Greek
saga PERSEUS. In 2004, La MaMa ETC presented SEVEN -- a month-long festival
including the world-premiere of Stewart's ANTIGONE, performed in repertory
with revivals of six productions previously staged by Great Jones Repertory
Company. In her New York Times review of ANTIGONE, Margo Jefferson proclaimed:
"Ms. Stewart is one of Off-Broadway's great pioneers. And La MaMa
is one of the few institutions that unfailingly welcomes theater that
is experimental and international."