Off-Off-Broadway's Mettawee River Theatre Company, under the direction of award winning puppeteer Ralph Lee, will present Erik Ehn's Psyche in the Garden at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Sept. 10 - 12, and 17 - 19.
Adapted by Lee and Ehn from the 1671 play Psiche, by Moliere and Pierre Corneille -- with additional scenes from Love's Mistress by Thomas Heywood (1640) -- Psyche employs actors, masks, puppets, music and dance to tell the ancient Greco-Roman myth of the young princess whose beauty rivals that of the goddess Venus, thereby incurring Venus' envy and the love of Cupid (who has been sent to wreck havoc on the innocent Psyche). The production of Psyche is designed to reflect the sensibilities of the grand court entertainments of Louis XIV, who requested the production from Moliere. Moliere, who had one month to ready the play before Lent, created the scenario and wrote three scenes before enlisting the aid of Corneille to create verse dialogue for the rest of the play.
Psyche is designed and directed by Ralph Lee, with costumes by Casey Compton and music by Karen Hansen. The cast includes Scott Blumenthal, Doris DiFranecio, Clea Rivera, Jessica Smith, Brian Voelcker, and Sam Zuckerman.
Lee is founder of NY's annual Village Halloween Parade (now in its 25th year), and last year had many of his puppets exhibited at the New York Library for the Performing Arts. He has been honored with numerous awards, including a Bessie Award, two Obie Awards, induction into City Lore's People's Hall of Fame, a NY State Governor's Arts Award, a citation from the NY Municipal Arts Society, and an American Theater Wing Design Award.
Tickets for the production of Psyche are $8 and are available at the door. -- By Sean McGrath