Alceste

Euripides' version of a Greek myth serves as ground zero for playwright B. Walker Sampson's surreal comedy about the otherworldly journey of two long-term lovers separated by death. Imaginatively staged on a small proscenium by director Darin Dahms, the comic-strip action takes place in a strange dreamscape (set and prop design by Naomi Kasahara) peopled with hooded figures, squabbling ghosts, outsized heroines and supernaturally powerful villains. Foreseeing the imminent death of Adamet (Trevor Olsen, in drag), her beloved Alceste (Lorianne Hill), a gentle accepting soul, follows the sinister counsel of an unearthly scoundrel named Man With Blazing Necktie (Lynn Odell), who proposes to take Alceste's life instead. Soon, a cloaked ferryman (Ezra Buzzington) is escorting a timorous Alceste to the netherworld, while a lonely and bewildered Adamet fends off the seductive embraces of Man's titillating oracle, Woman in Bright Bathing Suit (Jennifer Flack). Meanwhile, a secondary story line tracks the exploits of a comical superheroine named Frigga Brenda (Julia Prud'homme), who boldly slays giants and monsters but comes undone at the hands of the dastardly Man and his female cohort. Oblique dialogue and the seemingly lateral movement of the plot make the first part of the play slow going — but even this slack stretch comes bolstered by well-crafted performances and striking production values, including lighting and sound design by Michael Roman and Ryan Brodkin, respectively, along with Jeremy McDonald's backdrop animation and Takashi Morimoto's inspired costumes. Most memorable within the adept ensemble are Prud'homme and Odell, in blazing command of their outrageous characters. Theatre of NOTE, 1517 N. Cahuenga Blvd., L.A.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 7 p.m., through March 12. (323) 856-8611.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 11. Continues through March 12, 2011


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