Icarus and AriaGAMBIER, Ohio (April 3, 2012)
Icarus and Aria comes to the Kenyon stage on April 5-7 with a story that blends elements of Romeo and Juliet, Greek tragedy, hip-hop and professional football.
Written in iambic pentameter, the 1997 play by Kirk Wood Bromley is set in Phoenix as top draft pick and quarterback Icarus Alzaro joins an expansion football team but then elopes with Aria Jones, daughter of the team's owner. The couple is hounded by the media, police, and relatives.
The three performances are at 8:00 p.m. in the Bolton Theater.
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the inspiration for the play, but Bromley has used iambic pentameter in a number of other plays, said Kevin Rich, assistant professor of drama. The contemporary verse play is "a great production to direct on the college level."
His approach as director is to "let the language rip through the actors' bodies," he said. "In Shakespeare, all of the characters are poets. They're all speaking in poetry that they're making up on the spot. It's not 'Old English.' It's new English - edgy, fresh, vibrant. I think this play is very much in that spirit."
With "scenes crashing one into another," the play moves quickly and includes live percussion work as well as recorded music. Some verse in Spanish adds to the diverse texture of Icarus and Aria. Elements of Greek tragedy are interwoven, including a chorus of television reporters.
"One of the reasons I like teaching in the liberal arts context is that theater can be a platform for learning new things," Rich said. "And considering Kenyon's focus on writing and the wonderful playwriting students coming up in our department, I thought it would be fun to expose our audience to a playwright using this classical form in a contemporary context."
Drama major Faith Servant '13 of Birmingham, Alabama, plays Aria in the cast of twenty-one. The role is a challenge "mostly because the play is written in verse," she said. "While I have experience with classical acting, it's a different type of verse acting. Putting contemporary language into verse is pretty weird but it's beautiful."
The lead characters experience "this deep, passionate, raw love - and it does end tragically," Servant said.
Hector Marrero '15 of the Bronx, New York, plays Icarus, a football player with gang connections. "He really wants to get out of that gang," Marrero said. "And when he meets Aria, it's love in its truest form. He gives up everything he has. It's a great story - a new twist on a classic tale.
"The cast is really diverse. I've never worked with such an amazing cast."
The play won the "Best of Fringe" award at the New York International Fringe Festival in 1997 and was made into a short film in 2001.
Ticket prices are $5 for general admission; $2.50 per person for groups of ten or more; $2 for people over 65, non-Kenyon students, and children under 12; and $1 for Kenyon students.
The rest of the cast includes:
Miguel Alvarez-Flatow of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico - Primalo
Laura Barati of Los Angeles - Trinidad/Medicine Woman
Kenny Fedorko of Baden, Pennsylvania - Junkfood/Hammer
Shelby Green of Philadelphia - Matina/Sissy
Aeneas Hemphill of Vienna, Virginia - Ernie/Mickie
Josh Henderson-Cox of Olympia, Washington - Barciaolo/Photographer
Sam Hilling of Chattanooga, Tennessee - Gallo/Mover 2
Kisky Holwerda of Lake Oswego, Oregon - Shareen/Priscilla
Sarah Blair Jenkins of Flat Rock, North Carolina - Anchor/Secretary
Atticus Koontz of Mercer Island, Washington - Jimmy Jones
Charles Lasky of Columbus, Ohio - Kacinky/Ray
Joe Lerangis of New York City - Mr. Jones
Aaron Lynn of Gambier, Ohio - Tonka/Mover 1
Issa Polstein of Maumee, Ohio - Damon/Mr. Nite
Miles Purinton of New York City - Maximus
Samantha Sheahan of Arlington, Virginia - Luce/Mayor
Ellie Shepley of Dedham, Massachusetts - Cindy
Brett Williams of Chesterland, Ohio - Coach/Sheriff
Raquel Zanoni of Wyoming, Ohio - Dina