By Eric Bayer
The Icarus Project is not only an original work, but one that has been in the making for seven years.
“The Icarus Project was born in the summer of 2003, when we met for the first time to discuss the creation of a fully devised theatrical work based upon the Icarus myth. We wanted to explore the fusion of traditional performance, puppetry, dance, and music as a means of illustrating the various themes associated with the myth.” Charles Wittreich Jr., director of the Icarus project said.
What Wittreich says is true, the production not only relies on traditional performance to tell its story, but there is also a wide variety of music, dancing, and even impressive puppetry throughout. Some of the puppets included were of the young son, Icarus, the great queen, Pasiphae, and even one of a mighty Minotaur.
Now while the production may seem fun, it is also one that is fairly difficult to follow and fully understand. This is mostly due to the fact that the story relies almost solely on dance, puppetry, strobe lights and interpretive acting to tell itself, and contains a very little amount of dialog. The director even suggests that every member of the audience should read the synopsis of the play before the show starts, in order to have a full understanding of what is happening throughout the play.
The synopsis in The Suffolk Spotlight’s playbill for The Icarus Project, reads, “The great inventor Daedalus is a legend among the people throughout Greece. Having been shown favor by the goddess Athena, he has been given the gift of limitless knowledge in the form of a miraculous helmet forged in Mount Olympus. He uses this creation to fuel his selfish need for attention and self-gratification as he attempts to grant humanity the gift of flight. His one redeeming quality, the unconditional love he has for his only son Icarus, is outweighed by a boundless jealousy of his nephew Talos. He murders the young Talos, and flees Athens to avoid prosecution; his destination is Crete, where the future king and queen begin to have troubles of their own. Upon Daedalus’ arrival in the palace of Knossos, Pasiphae the Queen has become cursed by a lust for the great white bull, a gift by Poseidon to Minos and Pasiphae, consummating their rule over Crete. Daedalus is forced to help the queen, and in turn she births the Minotaur. As time passes, the creature develops a lust for human flesh; in order to contain the raging abomination; Daedalus once again intervenes and constructs an almost inescapable labyrinth. After the construction is complete, Minos betrays Daedalus and imprisons him in a tower along with Icarus. There, Daedalus constructs wings for himself and his son in an effort to escape. However, Icarus does not heed his father’s warning not to fly too close to the sun, and the wax holding the feathers together melts. Icarus falls to his death, and up landing Daedalus is left alone to grieve the death of his son.”
Thus far, the show appears to be a campus hit.
“This was one of the most interesting productions I have ever seen. The music was enjoyable, the dancing was choreographed very well, and the puppetry took me off guard in how fantastic it was. I just wish I had an easier time understanding it all. While the performance itself was fairly amazing, I felt as though I had a very hard time following what was happening throughout most of the play, I even read the synopsis beforehand! I guess I’m just not used to seeing a story like this portrayed through such little dialog. Oh well.” Ted Wielinski, 19-year old SCCC student, said.
It is safe to say, this show is definitely one you need to go into wide awake, and make sure to give your undivided attention, in order to get the full experience.
The Icarus Project will continue to run Thursday, May 4, to Saturday, May 6, at 8 p.m. each night, and then the final performance will be on Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m. All performing arts students and faculty alike encourage anyone and everyone to come see the show!