800 – 900 Mass. Ave.
Aug. 30 – Sept. 3
Susurrus’ Evoe commanded the eastern edge of Mass Avenue Aug. 30-Sept. 3, bringing forth the ancient-yet-immediate story of dualities in the form of one being, one elixir [wine]. Opening with performers attached to and jutting out of alcoves and doorways along the 800 block, they (and the audience) moved en masse to the garden-fringed point where streets (and epithets) diverge. From thence the action percolated to lots at the edge of the 900 block, butting up to the interstate, and ultimately to the garden of a former garden shop.
The brilliance of the conceit belongs to designer/director Andrew Wiskoski, who wove a James Bond film noir onto “a protean Dionysian festival/worship ceremony.” The delight of execution is attributed to producer/choreographer Melli Hoppe and an amazing company of 19.
Overall design was meticulous, down to the minutest details, including costumes, lighting, sound/music, film footage, and location. And, as if by some twinge of Dionysis’ own doing, in the background, from the west, fireworks sprayed across the sky during the Saturday performance. The wonderment was heightened by watching ten women dance on asphalt and concrete, wearing spike heels and platform boots. They balanced horizontally atop ladders to emulate dolphins swimming in the sea. They descended into madness and ascended into horror when the frenzy subsided. Five men personified five aspects of James Bond/Dionysis in concert with and opposing each other. The level of contact and combat between all was nothing short of breathtaking.
Briefly, the story mirrors Dionysis’ journey of return, as an adult, to Thebes, where he was supernaturally re-born following his mother’s horrible death. The plot revolves around the fate of a king blind to the presence of Dionysis as a god.
Dionysis, above all the other gods, remains a lasting influence in the affairs of humans whose lives, like his, are always in balance between joy and pain. Evoe, [ee-vo-ay] the cry of the Bacchae, the followers of Dionysis, should be a watchword for all future Fringers. Bravo to a gutsy production that earns a wreath.