Can Your Relationship to Art Be the Same as Prayer? This Musical Says Yes
Evie Ruth in Prayer: A Song Cycle
Photo by Justine LaViolette
Inspired by the renowned minimalist and conceptual art collector Dorothy Vogel (played by Beth Ricketson), Prayer: A Song Cycle’s 45-minute mix of dance movement, video projections and a neo-folk/pop–infused score (by remix composer-lyricist and co-creator Susan Joseph) plays like a contemporary, mystical variation on a Renaissance masque.
At its center is the canny insight that Vogel and her late husband Herbert’s intensely personal relationship to the priceless art they eventually donated to Washington’s National Gallery fulfills the dictionary definition of prayer — a “spiritual communion with … an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration or confession.”
To that end, Joseph and co-conceiver Evie Ruth take the stage as shamanesque figures in fantastically coiffed wigs and warrior face paint (by designer Ana Rifa), like priestesses of some Wiccan New Age musical theater cult.
While the three performers prove creditable vocalists, they are hardly the triple threats that this material demands. Under the additional handicap of Davis Neves’ anemic choreography, director/co-writer Angela Grillo’s curiously stilted staging stumbles when it should soar.
The Reflective Collective at Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village; through July 13. Eclecticcompanytheatre.org.
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