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PERSEPHONE OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: October 26, 2010
Synopsis: In this music theater work, the mythology surrounding the Greek character of Persephone--the beautiful and doomed daughter of Zeus and Demeter who was abducted by Hades into the Underworld--is explored through songs, narrative, projections, and instrumental music, all performed in the style of a 19th-century theatrical production.
The title character is played by film and theater actress Julia Stiles (the Bourne trilogy, Oleanna on Broadway); Warren Leight, a Tony Award-winner for Sideman, wrote the book, which highlights the Persephone myth's enduring relevance across centuries and its ability to illuminate ideas about gender, power, mysticism, loss, and the natural world in different ways at different times. The music is a collaboration between composer/performer Ben Neill and vocalist/songwriter Mimi Goese, who also plays Demeter, and combines samples of works by 19th-century composers with the sounds of contemporary rock and electronica.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"As visually sumptuous as it is dramatically inert, “Persephone,” a multimedia production from the Ridge Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, at least presents a lush feast of imagery for the eye to savor. At its bewitching best the production evokes a French neoclassical painting that has magically bloomed into three dimensions. "
"It’s always opening night at Persephone, a schizoid steampunk stage contraption currently unspooling at BAM’s Next Wave Festival: In a meta-theatrical triple-lutz (with serious assists from Jim Findlay’s four-dimensional scenic design and Laurie Olinder’s projection work), the show simultaneously takes place backstage and onstage, as two divas, Clara and Grace (Julia Stiles and composer-lyricist Mimi Goese), plot to wrest control of their fractious turn-of-the-century theater company from Jules, the cokey, womanizing artistic-director (Sean Haberle). "
"NEW YORK -- It's admirable that Julia Stiles would take time out from her film and television career -- she's in the midst of a multiepisode guest turn on Showtime's "Dexter" -- to return to her experimental theater roots. "
"A 90-minute multimedia music-theater work, "Persephone" is visually stunning, musically innocuous, and dramatically unexciting. Penned by Warren Leight, with music by Ben Neill and Mimi Goese and lyrics by Goese, the show is based on a promising premise: A 19th-century experimental theater troupe is performing the Greek myth of Persephone in an elaborate pageant highlighted by "magic-lantern" effects. "
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