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November 16, 2000

UMBC Theatre Department Presents Orpheus, Adapted and Directed by Xerxes Mehta



Baltimore, Md. - The UMBC Department of Theatre presents a Main Stage Production, Orpheus, adapted and directed by Xerxes Mehta from Jean Cocteau's play Orpheé and his trilogy of Orpheus films. Performances, for mature audiences only, are November 29 and December 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and December 3 and 10 at4 p.m. A preview will be held on November 28 at 8 p.m. UMBC faculty, staff and students are invited to a free performance on November 30 at 4 p.m. All performances are in the UMBC Theatre. Tickets are $10 general, $8 UMBC faculty/staff, $5 students and seniors. Preview tickets are $3. For reservations and information call the Box Office at (410) 455-2476.

Love and death, personified by two beautiful women, war for the soul of artist/singer, Orpheus. The Greek myth-Orpheus journeys to the underworld to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the clutches of death - here finds fresh life in this version by France's greatest inter-war poet/painter/director/filmmaker, Jean Cocteau. A startling, spirited, fantastic, irreverent "méditation sur la mort," Cocteau's surreal masterpiece synthesizes music, painting, pantomime, poetry, masks and magic.

Cocteau wrote Orpheé in 1925 while Picasso was trying to pull him free of his opium addiction. As a result the events and characters are a combination of sharp realism and a surreal mysticism. The play's cast of characters include an angelic glazier, the seductive and ravishingly beautiful Death of the Poet, the honeymoon heroine Eurydice, and the three unfortunate souls condemned to sit as Judges in the Underworld.

Mehta uses Cocteau's play and elements of his film trilogy to create a moving and powerfully disturbing adaptation that resonates with surreal images from his complete body of work. Representing Orpheus' home and the terrain of dreams, the set consists of a shining assemblage of silver mirrors on a white landscape created by Elena Zlotescu, who has also designed costumes in vibrant colors that contrast with the setting. The strength and beauty of the physical design are complemented by Terry Cobb's otherworldly lighting and Aya Ueda's evocative production score, which blends music from such contemporary masters as Crumb, Pärt and Penderecki.

"This coming together of beauty and terror, realism and surrealism, myth and the everyday world, combined with the strength and commitment of the performers, helps us to enter the vision of this most multi-faceted of artists, Jean Cocteau," explains Mehta.

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Posted by dwinds1 at November 16, 2000 12:00 AM