It's been two-and-a-half years since Deanna Jent's remarkable play, "Falling", premiered at the Mustard Seed Theatre. This has been a busy time for Ms. Jent and her play. An off-Broadway production in 2012 was met with glowing reviews (and a nomination for a Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Play"). "Falling" was produced in Los Angeles in 2013 and is appearing all over the country this year. Next year Brazil!
Fontbonne University has opened a charming production of "Eurydice", a very slight piece by Sarah Ruhl. Whimsical, with occasional wisps of poetry, this little story is a retelling of the Orpheus legend—but with a focus on Eurydice.
What happens when an immigrant Jewish accountant from St. Louis falls in love with a Missouri country girl? You get gefilte catfish, matzo balls made of cornmeal, and a unique love story that has charmed millions and made the world see that Lebanon, Missouri, is a town of far greater depth of spirit than most people realized.
Mustard Seed Theatre presents "Playland," the story of two men wrestling with inner demons played out upon the grounds of a traveling amusement park in South Africa. The black box theatre at Fontbonne University is a malleable space. Having both painted and acted in the theatre, I am somewhat smitten with its versatility.
Mustard Seed Theatre's artistic director Deanna Jent has created a convincingly playable adaptation of C.S. Lewis's novel Till We Have Faces. In his novel, Lewis wrote his own version of the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros, and play and novel present the essentials of that ancient tale. But Lewis, and Jent following him, make the focus of their version not Psyche herself but her old sister Orual, like Psyche the daughter of a king, eventually herself the ruler of the land.
My Name Is Asher Lev has been adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner from the novel of the same name by Chaim Potok. But it hasn't been adapted enough.
Mustard Seed Theatre has dusted off the classic French comedy Tartuffe. With a merry multitude of comic rhymes, period costumes and an extravagant set, Tartuffe mocks the hypocrisy of those who use piety as a tool for manipulation along with those who are taken in by such surface sentiment.
The character Tartuffe, played by Gary Wayne Barker, has wormed his way into the heart and house of Orgon a nobleman associated with Louis XIV's court. Orgon has invited Tartuffe into his home as a permanent house guest. In Orgon's eyes, Tartuffe is the most pious and forthright of men. He is not. We know he is not because the first thing we see him do is try to seduce Orgon's wife, Elmire. The man's tongue darts in and out in a continuous wetting of his thin smarmy lips as he peers wantonly at Kelly Ryan's Elmire. Even when Tartuffe is caught red handed, Orgon will not listen to reason and continually sides with the scheming Tartuffe over family members.