JJust sit right back and you'll here a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, that started after the Trojan War, aboard a not-so-tiny ship. Thus is the sordid tale of Idomeneus, who according to the Greek mythos, was instrumental in the overtaking of the city of Troy but not so great at adhering to weather reports. As his ship and crew were in the gravest of dangers after encountering a terrible storm, our fearful leader makes a promise to whom else but Poseidon (who if your Shelly Winters, you know the issues he has had with the cruise ships and probably not the best choice).
Idomeneus promises Poseidon that if he saves his ship and crew he would sacrifice the first living thing he saw upon his safe return home, probably not really thinking this promise through to its logical conclusion. Alas, the ship is saved and the crew is allowed to return to their awaiting families. The good news is that Fluffy The Cat was not the first living thing Idomeneus saw but not such good news for his own son. But a promise is a promise and whack, bam, zonk!!! Or is it? Was that really his son? What has family life been since daddy /hubby were off at war? Are they God's pissed off?
The answers to these questions and more await inside the DCASE Storefront Theater, as one of this city's most ingenious and original theatre companies, Sideshow, bring us the American premiere of IDOMENEUS by Roland Schimmelpfennig, translated by David Tushingham and deftly directed by Sideshow Artistic Director Jonathan L. Green.
As with any Greek tragedy there has to be a large Greek chorus and to that end, Mr. Green has provided us with the largest cast in Sideshow history. As written, this translation lends itself to the muse of musical theatre more than a straight play, as for a majority of the show the entire cast moves as one unit, pining the dialogue as choral pieces. This works terrifically when the cast is indeed in unison, but one slight mistake and it sounds like an orchestra with an out of tune violin. Luckily, those instances are rare and will become less so as the run continues.
Everything in this production is beautiful to watch, from a phenomenal cast to an ingenious set by Joe Schermonly that is half sandbox that seamlessly migrates into an entombed ship via a large wooden wave. All of the action is gorgeously lit by Mac Vaughey and underscored by Christopher M. LaPorte.
IDOMENEUS runs through September 23rd at DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph, Chicago. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm. For more information including ticket purchases, visit www.sideshowtheatre.org