Saturday, February 03, 2007

Orpheus descending

Orpheus descending at the Royal Alex. This Orpheus is Val, a guitar-playing young Southern drifter to whom women are fatally attracted. He is the object of an older woman's desire, and when he finally realizes his love for her, she dies like Orpheus' beloved Eurydice. That's as far as the adaptation of the myth goes. Tennessee Williams' ability to portray people who don't fit into society hits as deeply as the way he analyzes the psyche of mature women, their insecurities, their need to express themselves, blossom, and love, reminding me of the powerful and desperate image of Blanche in A streetcar named desire. I left the theatre with my friends, thinking, not of handsome Val at all, but of passionate Lady Torrance, the feisty, married woman who falls for Val, thrives in her new-found love, shaking loose the constraints of her marriage. We all agreed that Seana Mckenna's performance as Lady, with Italian accent and all, was the best part of the show.

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