Studio 42

in association with

One Year Lease

And

Laura Penney

Presents

NOTHING OF ORIGINS

Written and performed by

Devon Berkshire, Jackie Kristel, Ashley Salmon-Wander, and Tella Storey

in collaboration with co-writer Laura Roemer

 

Ashley Salmon-Wander, Devon Berkshire, Jackie Kristel, and Tella Storey.  Credit: Brian M. Thomas

 

Urban Stages

259 W. 30 St. (between 7th & 8th Aves.) NYC

Tickets: (212) 352-3101 or www.Theatermania.com

www.studio-42.org, www.oneyearlease.org

 

May 1 - May 18

 

Directed by Kate Marks

Set Designer - James Hunting

Light Designer - Aaron J. Mason

Costume Designer - Kay Lee

Sound Designer - Arthur J. Shettle

Stage Manager - Bianca Margiotta

Publicity - Bradford Louryk

 

The Players

Ashley Salmon-Wander as Cassandra and Electra

Jackie Kristel as Andromache and Penelope

Tella Storey as Clytemnestra and Leda

DEVON BERKSHIRE as Cleia and Helen

Hot young theater companies Studio 42 and One Year Lease have paired up to present a most modern look at the women behind the men of the Trojan War. In NOTHING OF ORIGINS, some of the great women of myth are interpreted with modern sensibilities, language and experiences, juxtaposing the world of today against ancient times of lore, and finding obvious commonalities.

The ladies of legend portrayed in the ninety-minute NOTHING OF ORIGINS include Helen, Cassandra, Penelope, and Clytemnestra, and each exists as an archetype of various sorts of women (virgin, mother, wife, whore, etc.). Most impressive is Devon Berkshire, as both Penelope’s devoted maidservant, and especially as the misunderstood Helen (of Troy). Depicted here as a pretty girl who was molded from birth to be the great beauty she became, this Helen is the center of admiration, jealousy, gossip and innuendo. Belittled by her peers, simply for what she is, her great beauty is, ultimately, an inglorious fate. Jackie Kristel is appropriately subdued as the lamenting Penelope, never giving up hope that her missing husband will return home. Tella Storey’s fiery Clytemnestra, and Ashley Salmon-Wander’s bitter, avidly adolescent Electra also resonate.

I was not crazy about the costumes. They are too generic and dowdy, and so altogether similar that they undermine the dramatic point – these are all strong women, but they are very different. The set too, while I appreciated the center-stage revolving door, was imperfect and bothersome. Mostly, the production needed none of the enacted nods to the ancient stage. The masks, the labored choreography, and the lamenting motions were completely unnecessary. NOTHING OF ORIGINS works so much better as a modern commentary. It is in the present, with a respectful nod back, that it flourishes.

NOTHING OF ORIGINS completes Studio 42’s season (next stop, the second annual Starving Artists Ball), and OYL is working on a remount of their production of LOOK BACK IN ANGER, so plan ahead to experience more artistry from these two impressive companies.

- Kessa De Santis -

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