GAMBIER — “Icarus and Aria” comes to the Kenyon stage tonight and Saturday with a story that blends elements of Romeo and Juliet, Greek tragedy, hip-hop and professional football.
Written in iambic pentameter, the 1997 play by Kirk Wood Bromley is set in Phoenix as top draft pick and quarterback Icarus Alzaro joins an expansion football team but then elopes with Aria Jones, daughter of the team’s owner. The couple is hounded by the media, police and relatives.
The performances are at 8 p.m. in the Bolton Theater, 205 College-Park St.
Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is the inspiration for the play, but Bromley has used iambic pentameter in a number of other plays, said Kevin Rich, assistant professor of drama. The contemporary verse play is “a great production to direct on the college level.”
His approach as director is to “let the language rip through the actors’ bodies,” he said. “In Shakespeare, all of the characters are poets. They’re all speaking in poetry that they’re making up on the spot. It’s not ‘Old English.’ It’s new English — edgy, fresh, vibrant. I think this play is very much in that spirit.”
With “scenes crashing one into another,” the play moves quickly and includes live percussion work as well as recorded music. Some verse in Spanish adds to the diverse texture of Icarus and Aria. Elements of Greek tragedy are interwoven, including a chorus of television reporters.
Hector Marrero of the Bronx, N.Y., plays Icarus, a football player with gang connections. “He really wants to get out of that gang,” Marrero said. “And when he meets Aria, it’s love in its truest form. He gives up everything he has. It’s a great story — a new twist on a classic tale.
“The cast is really diverse. I’ve never worked with such an amazing cast.”
The play won the Best of Fringe award at the New York International Fringe Festival in 1997 and was made into a short film in 2001.
The Bolton Theater box office can be reached at 740-427-5546.
Published on April 7, 2012