Monday, July 23, 2012

Tales of Olympus Reading

Hello everyone!

I am super excited to be guest-blogging for BACT this week, as I have a ridiculous amount of amazing things to say about BACT’s upcoming new work, The Tales of Olympus: A Greek Myth Musical.

But let me back up for a minute….

My name is Megan Fitzgerald, I am a college Sophomore home for the summer, and am lucky enough to be interning with BACT.

When Nina first sent me the dates of the rehearsals for the Tales of Olympus workshop, I had no idea what I was getting myself into…and I was quite confused that there were only four rehearsals. The cast started rehearsing last Tuesday night, and by Sunday afternoon they presented the workshop to a small audience in Berkeley. How could anyone pull together a show in such a short amount of time?

However, once I saw what this incredible team of talented theatre-artists was doing, I wished I was going to get to sit though more nights of rehearsal. However, in the mere four rehearsals I saw, I learned more than I ever imagined I would about the process of work shopping a new musical (and Greek myths!)

Min Kahng has written a script that is inventive, clever, and entertaining for kids, adults, and even picky college students like myself. I was completely enthralled by every one of his creative characters and their stories. With little experience in Children’s Theatre, I was definitely not expecting well-developed and vivid characters. However, I was incredibly impressed by the depth Kahng has written into each one.

Kahng’s lyrics and music are also sure to take you on a journey not only to Mount Olympus (the home of the Gods) but also through various genres and styles of music history. In just 90 minutes Kahn explores styles of rap, a capella, samba, ballad, and of course inspiring hero songs. Each new number introduces something we haven’t heard yet musically, and also tells another tale of Olympus. I found myself rocking out to stories like Pandora’s Box, and the tale of how Zeus became king.

With a superb script copied and stapled, and a director as talented as the lovely Emily Morison signed on, all this workshop needed was a brilliant cast to complete our journey to Mount Olympus. I’m sure regular subscribers to BACT shows are not surprised to hear that, yet again, the company has hit the jack pot and found a collection of local superstars to give life and truth to these roles.  The Gods of Olympus, featuring Calliope, Hermes, Athena, Aphrodite, and Zeus, each have their own distinct personality.  The actors rose to the occasion, bringing their own dynamic to this kooky version of Mount Olympus. Jason, the sixth and final character, is a twelve-year-old boy, who considers himself nerdy and unimportant. However, Calliope, the goddess of epic poetry, has faith in Jason to be the new Bard of Mount Olympus’s forgotten Greek Myths. I had the pleasure of seeing this cast interact with writer, Kahng and director, Emily Morrison, collaborating together to figure out who these characters they are. Seeing how much thought and creativity went into creating this wacky gang of characters was really inspiring to see as a hopeful, young, theatre-artist.

Sunday brought around a magnificent workshop, and a very enthusiastic crowd! In just a few days, this team created wonderful, new, and inventive children’s theatre, enjoyable for families aged 2 to 92. Tales of Olympus will officially debut in BACT’s season this December, and I cannot recommend it enough. The team working behind the project is absolutely brilliant, and everyone in the family can get something out of it. Whether you are looking for fun, colorful characters, or an education on Greek mythology, you can find it on Mount Olympus!

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