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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Walden Theatre Alumni present Evening of Challenging, Experimental Theatre



Prometheus & Io / Lydia
By Alex Parobek
Directed by Sabrina Spalding and Ben Park
A review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2013 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.

The goal of education in the arts is to inspire and engage young minds so that their gifts may grow. Walden Theater has been achieving this goal for many decades, and in recent years the payoff has been the newly formed Walden Theater Alumni Company, a group of young theater artists who attended the conservatory and make their return with the sole purpose to create. This weekend brought the brief run of two one-act plays written by Alex Parobek, and directed and performed by graduates of Walden Theater.

Diverse in subject matter and rich in content, these works serve as workshops for these fresh-faced actors and directors. Prometheus and Io pins a modern spin on mythology with a twist of witty dialogue that results in delightful quirkiness. As the eagle who is to gnaw on Prometheus’s liver for the rest of his days, Katie Scott relates to her character on the level as someone who has just spent an evening with someone they will soon regret. Scott’s annoyance and reluctance towards Prometheus provides a great foil for Jacob Lyle’s burdened and bound Prometheus. Lyle brings a desperate loneliness to the character that humanizes the man of mythic proportion. Sami Siegwald provides the most relatable and contemporary performance as Io, a jilted ex-lover of Zeus who was turned into a cow. Siegwald is genuine and fresh in her performance as a scorned young woman with physical and emotional burdens as well. What made this particular piece so fascinating is that the issues of failure and love loss are themes very real to these artists who are carving their paths in the world.

Lydia is a stylistically fascinating point of view of dying and mourning. Technically speaking, this piece, slightly longer, is a total 360-degree turn from the first play. Using lights and shadows to emphasize loneliness, memories and grief, I extend kudos to Ben Park for doing a lot with a very little space – the mark of a true theater artist. As an ensemble piece, this play requires strong work from all the actors to create the psyche of a grief stricken young woman played by Allison Spanyer. Some of the strongest moments in this work involve Spanyer punching out the words “good happy memories” while her youthful face is dimly lit in harsh darkness, providing an image that is haunting and beautiful.

I have one suggestion for these budding artists for the sake of future patrons. Since Walden Theater has multiple stages, it would be a great idea to have some kind of signal or house crew to point the way to the building’s Alt Space. This could spare lay persons, such as me and others, from wandering into rehearsal for another play.

In conclusion, the Walden Theater Alumni Company has succeeded tenfold in creating a workshop that not only showcases these young artists, but also brings the skills and talents they picked up from the conservatory.

Prometheus and Io / Lydia

August 8-10, 2013

The Walden Theatre Alumni Company
Alt Space at Walden Theater
1123 Payne St.
Louisville, KY 40205

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