Murder, resurrection and the Sumerian Underworld are all spliced together for the latest collaborative theatre piece by Philadelphia's Independent Eye, Descent of the Goddess Inanna, Trenton, NJ, 5:42 P.M.. Descent plays at the Old City Stage Works (115 Arch Street), April 1-18. The show was originally supposed to run March 25-April 11, but the show's technical complexity forced the company to add another week of rehearsals, according to a box office spokesperson (reached March 23).
Eye co-founders, Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, continue their "Genesis Ensemble" workshop, devoted to the improvisational evolution of new plays. Actors participated in and contributed to the development of characters and situations, as did poets, directors, therapists and movement specialists.
Independent Eye's past production of Frankenstein, adapted by Bishop and Fuller, mixed physical comedy with horror to reflect Victor Frankenstein's flight from the natural cycle of birth and death. How do they do it? The love scene was swarmed by mosquitoes, the Monster's encounter with a blind man was played out with dolls, and the doctor animated his dead friend as a ventriloquist's dummy. But, the Philadelphia staging was not only attempting to enhance the comedy in the tale: for example, a journey into the Arctic became a sweeping waltz through a dreamscape of what might have been.
With Eye's Hammers, Bishop and Conrad brought the genre of horror film to the stage in its dramatization of the true story of the Winchester "Mystery" House in San Jose, CA. What exists today as a tourist attraction -- a house with a maze of 160 rooms, began as a young heiress' obsession with a message from a spiritualist, who told her she would only stay alive as long as her house was under construction.
Fuller and Bishop are producing and founding directors of The Independent Eye, and have been collaborating for 25 years. For reservations for Descent (tickets are pay-what-you-will) or more information please call (215) 925-2838.
-- By Sean McGrath and David Lefkowitz