Synopses & Reviews
Ive been in a lot of shows in my life, and I've thought a lot of em were pretty good, but this is a masterpiece.” Morgan Freeman
An ancient drama explodes into a hand-clapping, soul-stirring gospel musical.” Chicago Tribune
One of the most marvelous shows the decade
Colonus is a triumph of reconciliation, bringing together black and white, pagan and Christian, ancient and modern in a sunburst of joy that seems to touch the secret heart of civilization itself.” -Jack Kroll, Newsweek
Writing at the end of his own long life, in Oedipus at Colonus Sophocles depicted his doomed heros final hours; at the moment of his death the aged Oedipus is free at last. Envisioning this rarely performed meditation on mortality as a rousing service in a black church, Lee Breuer has created a remarkable text based on Robert Fitzgeralds splendid translation. Rearranging, simplifying, cutting here and enhancing there, Breuer has above all honored the spirit and the poetry of Sophocles's lovely work, giving it a new life in this time and place.
Inspired by the joyous faith at the heart of African-American Christianity, Breuer and composer Bob Telson have turned a momentary wish of Sophocles chorus into a central desire of Oedipus himself. I wish the wind would lift me,” he sings, so I could look with the eyes of the angels.” The fundamental action of The Gospel of Colonus is to lift him up” at the hour of Oedipus death to celebrate his life, to journey through grief to triumphal resurrection. Man,” says lead actor Morgan Freeman, this is what theatre is all about.”
Lee Breuer is a founding member of the acclaimed avant-garde company Mabou Mines. He has written and directed many groundbreaking works for theatre including a trilogy of Animations,” A Prelude to Death in Venice and Haji. Sister Suzie Cinema, a cinema collection of his poems and performances, was previously published by TCG.
Bob Telsons recent projects include collaborating with Breuer on The Warrior Ant and composing the score for the film Bagdad Café.
A founding member of the acclaimed New York-based company Mabou Mines, Breuer's gifts as a writer and director have have made him a mainstay of the theatrical avant-garde.
Published earlier as fiction, La Divina Caricatura
is a trilogy of plays: The Shaggy Dog Animation
, Ecco Porco
and The Warrior Ant
. They are three servings of pataphysical Dante. Here in our Inferno, our Purgatoria, our Paradisio, souls are cartoons and they are represented in the halfway house of Purgatorio as that cubic cartoon known as a puppet, puppets that are halfway houses between the flesh and the pixel.
Alfred Jarry, who invented pataphysics and reinvented black humor, had been a Dante buff; he might also have invented the characters that string Lee Breuers plays together: Rose the Dog, who thinks she is a woman; her lover John, the Junkie filmmaker; Ponzi Porco PhD, the pig in love with the New York Times; and the Warrior Ant, who, to impress his father, Trotsky the Termite, declares perpetual revolution of the bugs of the fifth world and vanquishes the Liberal Establishment on the White House lawn. They are all souls on their own pilgrimages. Seldom with a Virgil or a Beatrice to guide them, they often try to guide each other, only to get more turned around. For our pilgrims, progress is on the Wheel of Life, never straight ahead but up, down, over and back and around and around again.
La Divina Caricatura is a graphic novellength performance poem for the stage and a mixed-media musical cartoon feature movie come alive. It is about itself, the very thing that it is: mediathe message-in-itself. It is the Dante we never knew but always knew was there. It is Bunraku theatre for the American sensibility.
Pataphysics, as invented by Alfred Jarry, is the science of imaginary solutions. Had Jarry been a Dante buff, he might have invented the screwy, hilarious, quirky characters that La Divina Caricatura
strings together. Written by Lee Breuer, this trilogy of plays, adapted from his previous short stories, introduces us to: Rose the Dog (who thinks she is a woman); John, the junkie filmmaker (who is Rose the Dogs lover); Ponzi Porco, PhD (a pig in love with the New York Times
); and the Warrior Ant (who, to impress his father, Trotsky the Termite, declares perpetual revolution of the bugs of the fifth world and vanquishes the Liberal Establishment on the White House lawn). Each of these souls is on his or her own pilgrimage and, without a Virgil or Beatrice to guide them, often guide each otheronly to get turned completely around.
La Divina Caricatura is a darkly comedic look at the Dante we never knew, but had a hunch was there.
Praise for the original short stories
A comic spectacle. . . . An acid-trip collage of philosophy, mythology, corny jokes, and lyric poetry.”New York Times
About the Author
Lee Breuer is a writer, director, lyricist, filmmaker, and founding co-artistic director of Mabou Mines Theater.