Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bridge Repertory Theater Presents "Salomé" - A Rare Opportunity for Boston Audiences To See A Baryshnikov Dance!

Oscar Wilde loved provoking scandals, and he certainly did that with his play "Salomé."  His racy adaptation of the Biblical story of John the Baptist and Salomé was banned during his lifetime, and was only performed after his death.  It is clear that Mr. Wilde wrestled with many demons.  In this play, he attempts to exorcise - or at least exercise - some of them in creating a character of Salomé who is willful, rebellious and driven by a lust that causes her to obsess over the Jewish prophet and to perform seductively for her King and step-father, in defiance of her mother.

Director Olivia D'Ambrosio has chosen to re-imagine this play as set in the 1970's, so it has a bit of a retro-disco feel.  She ties the text of this play to the era in which the Stonewall riots took place in NYC - cementing the relationship between Salome's bloody quest for sexual freedom and fulfillment to the emerging gay rights movement.

This is a play that you will want to experience. It is not Oscar Wilde's best work, but it is intriguing and provocative.  What makes this production worth seeing is the casting of the luminous Shura Baryshnikov in the role of Salomé.  This gifted artist has taken full advantage of the gene pool from which she has sprung.  Her striking beauty echoes that of her mother, Jessica Lange.  Her fluid dance moves are reminiscent of her father, Mikhail, in his halcyon days of graceful leaping on the world's ballet stages.  From the moment she walked into the performance space at First Church, I could not take my eyes off of her.  Because of the 1970 setting, we do not get the classic Dance of the Seven Veils that make Richard Strauss's operatic telling of this story so memorable.  But we do get original choreography by Ms. Baryshnikov, and it is scintillating.

Other cast members include:
Robert D. Murphy as Herod
Veronica Wiseman as Herodias
Woody Gaul as Jokanaan
David D'Andrea as Soldier
Robert Cope as Nazarene
Jesse Garlick as First Jew
Cliff Odle as Tigellinus
Geoff Van Wyck as Page of Herodias
Jeff Church as Captain
Harsh Gagoomal as Second Jew

Lighting is by Stephen Petrilli, gorgeous Costumes by Chelsea Kerl, Sound by Bevin Kelley, Scenic Design by Esme Allen.

This Bridge Repertory Theater production concludes this weekend with the final performance on October 18.

Bridge Rep Website



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