The Gods themselves…

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

If you happened to catch Mutiny on Mt. Olympus, the Tumbler Ridge KodiACTs take on the Roman myths once, you would have found yourself entertained by the witty banter shared between the character.

If you happened to catch it twice, you would have noticed that many of the best lines from the first go around were no longer there, exchanged for different (sometimes better, sometimes not so much) lines.

“It isn’t so much a script as suggestions,” says Allison Frenette, who played Aphrodite in the production. She says that, while there are certainly beats that need to be hit, much of the dialogue is improvised.

Indeed, watching the play a second time (my daughter, who saw the play during the first production, insisted that the rest of the family come and see the play), there were entire scenes that felt like they hadn’t been there the first time I saw the play.

“There were,” confirms director and drama teacher Tracy Krauss. “The first time they performed it, they missed a scene in the first act, and had to try and make it up in the second.”

There were many tears following the final performance, as the actors embraced and bid farewell to the eight members of the group who are graduating this year and will not return next year.

“Seven of those are male, which means that next year, we’ll probably have a very female-heavy cast,” says Krauss.

The play tries to knit together at least a dozen (probably more, but I lost count) different Roman myths into a single narrative of betrayal and backstabbing amongst the gods of Mount Olympus.

Poseidon (Cody Hanson) and Hades (Michael Rousseau), are frustrated at brother Zeus’ (Will Browning) rule over the rest of the Gods. While the three are equal, Poseidon rules a realm of fish, while Hades is stuck in the underworld with all the dead people. “They smell bad,” he complains. Besides, Zeus promised to find them wives, and Hades is still single. (“I don’t see why,” says Zeus. “I hear all the girls are dying to meet you.”)

Zeus doesn’t see why his brothers are complaining: “We drew straws.” His attitude doesn’t sit well with the two, and they decide to visit the fates to see what they can do to take Zeus down a notch. Or two. Maybe three. Yes, definitely three notches.

As they work through their plan, they are aided (or are they?) by Hermes, winged messenger and God of Tricksters and, later on, thieves (“I’m diversifying; the messenger business is kinda slow”, he says.)

Along the way, Hades gets accidentally shot by Cupid’s arrow, and falls in love with Persephone, who finds the attention of the old dude kinda creepy. But despite an overbearing mom in the form of Joey Watt’s Demeter), Hades won’t take no for an answer and tricks Persephone into eating six seeds from a pomegranate.

Attempting to drive a wedge between Zeus and favoured daughter Athena, Hermes manages to get her to turn Arachne into a spider and Medusa into a snake-headed freak.

Aphrodite thinks that either of these two women will make a great wife for Hades (“The underworld is dark and creepy,” she says of Arachne, “And she is a spider.”)

Things continue to spiral out of control as the Gods divide into two groups: those who back Zeus and those who back Poseidon. Who will win the war for Olympus?

Well, duh. Zeus, of course. The play is not reinventing Greek mythology, just stringing it together in a new format and adding in a bunch of one-liners.

As always, Will Browning turns in a great performance as Zeus, as does Cody Henderson as Poseidon (or, as I like to call him, Niptune, due to his rather revealing costume…) Indeed, most of the performances by the main characters are strong. Especially noteworthy is Tallus Munro’s ladykiller Apollo, complete with smouldering asides to the audience.

With many of the leads graduating, it might not bode well for next year’s performance, except for some rather strong performances by some of the junior cast members in smaller rolls, including Sydney Doonan as Echo the nymph.

If you missed the performances, your next chance to take in some live theatre in Tumbler Ridge will be next week, with TR Time Travel 8 happening March 15.