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Paulanne Simmons

Weightless Transforms Metamorphoses Into a Rock Concert

Directed by Tamilla Woodward
WP Theater, 2162 Broadway, 4th Floor
From Sept. 17, 2002
SAT: 2PM, 8PM, SUN: 3PM, 7PM, TUE: 7PM, WED: 7PM, THU: 7PM, FRI: 8PM
Tickets:  from $39 for questions, call the box office at (929) 458-0636
Closes Oct. 16, 2002
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons Sept 28, 2022

Cast of "Weightless"

In many ways WP Theater’s Weightless is such an original work one simply does not know how to classify it. Certainly, it’s a terrific rock concert, with original music performed by Bay Area indie rock band The Kilbanes: Kate Kilbane (bass) and Dan Moses (keyboard), along with Kofy Brown on percussion, Dan Harris on percussion and Joshua Pollock on guitar.

But it’s also a moving narrative, based on a tale from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. This ancient tale tells the story of two sisters, Procne, who goes to live with Tereus on his island home, where she bears him a son; and Philomena, her wronged and revenged sister.

In this musical rendition, directed by Tamilla Woodward, Kilbane plays Procne, Lila Blue is Philomena, Pollock is Tereus and Brown presides over the drama as the god, Iris, who understands human nature better than humans understand themselves.

Peiyi Wong’s set, a bandstand for a rock show, which at times becomes a forest, a beach, a shed or the sky, enhanced by Stacey Derosier’s lighting, is extremely effective in establishing mood, which is probably sufficient in this kind of storytelling, although it leaves a great deal to the imagination.

Much of the story is told in the poetry of song. In the sisters’ youth, Procne evokes “Diana in the forest/At the dawning of the day/A quiver full of arrows/And the sun to light their way,” But even the dialogue has a poetic quality. Iris says, “The thing about living forever is that it takes forever. Years creep, decades crawl, centuries inch forward, and nothing ever changes. But then something happens, and for a while, you forget that time even exists.”

In this version of the story, the sisters’ love transcends seduction, rape and mutilation. Some of the gorier elements of the story are (thankfully) left out of this production. Suffice it to say, they all live happily ever after, thanks to the intervention of Iris and the Greeks proclivity for changing human beings into other forms of life, often in the realm of the weightless.

Despite its title, the subject matter of Weightless is often quite heavy. Nevertheless, those who are willing to go on this modern journey of an ancient myth will find themselves captivated by a musical masterpiece.

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