Black Milk Quartet, a collection of four thematically linked mini operas about passion and its strange effect on human rationality, will be playing at LaMaMa ETC, Jan 22-Feb 8.
Black Milk Quartet begins with the prologue of Actaeon by Gina Leishman, which retells the Greek myth of a young hunter who accidentally stumbles upon the Goddess Diana, naked in her bath. In retribution, she transforms him into a stag, via the magic of shadow puppetry provided by Sandglass Theatre.
Following Actaeon is the title piece, Black Milk by Ellen Maddow in which a woman is drawn away from her husband and children by an invisible lover -- slowly rendering her insane.
Price Slasher, the third piece, is by Harry Mann and tells the story of a supermarket executive whose obsession with his stripper wife and her con-artist lover leads to his murder. The final opera is Colored Glasses by Gina Leishman, about a reclusive lover of books and music who is forced to face the outside world upon meeting a strange woman at the library.
All four operas will be directed by Paul Zimet (who also wrote the libretti for the pieces), with musical direction by Neal Kirkwood. The cast includes: William Badgett, Dina Emerson, Kimberly Gambino, Marcy Jellison, Ellen Maddow, Larry Marshall, Forrest McClendon, Eric Meyersfield and Tom Nelis. The Talking Band, celebrating its 23rd anniversary, was founded by Paul Zimet, Ellen Maddow, and Tina Shepard -- all former members of Joe Chaikin's Open Theater.
-- By Sean McGrath