Orpheus Descending

Orpheus Descending

Lou Pepe stages Tennessee Williams' study of a singer-songwriter, Val Xavier (Gale Harold) who wanders into a Southern mercantile shop, a reluctant seducing machine living in and belonging to a different world. Being both a updated interpretation of the Orpheus' visit to the underworld, with Biblical allusions heavily laced into the plot, Williams' saga is study in the how the otherworldy artist becomes scapegoated and sacrificed to the prosaic reality of the here-and-now. The theater is a bit of an echo chamber, and Brandon Baruch's murky lighting doesn't really help Pepe's decisions to eliminate distracting details such as walls and knicknacks in order to place us inside Val Xavier elevated head and heart. That said, the ensemble saves and elevates the event, particularly Denise Crosby, Claudia Mason and Francesca Casale as the women whose hearts become wrenched by the musician in the house. Theatre/Theater, 5041 Pico Blvd., L.A.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 21, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/92508. (800) 838-3006. Frantic Redhead Productions.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Jan. 15. Continues through Feb. 21, 2010