Monday, July 16, 2012

Greco-Roman gods transform Astoria park

Beginning this weekend pastel-clad Greco-Roman gods and goddesses will descend on — where else? — Athens Square Park, in Astoria, with "The Minervae."
The play, though comical at times, focuses on the heavy topic of religion. In the dying days of the Roman Empire, Minerva is trying to keep her followers, who are no longer as willing to believe in the gods, while Zebulon questions whether he should believe in the new religion — Christianity — or stick to the gods of the past.

"These are questions I've asked myself," artistic director Jackie LaVanway said, adding that the topic of faith though set in olden times, resonates with a current audience whose members might be examining their own beliefs.

Rachel McPhee, who plays Minerva, and Michael Swartz, who plays Zebulon, have, independently of On the Square Productions, performed "The Minervae" a few times since 2007. Over the years the play has changed dramatically, morphing into what audiences will see this month.
The original acts, written by Pennsylvania-based comedian Steven Bost, gives classical mythology a little sass.
The gods will speak in an elevated old- timey English when they let their emotions get the best of them (after all people no longer want to believe in them, which obviously makes them a tad upset), but will diverge into colloquial talk when they chat or bicker amongst themselves.

For example, Miriam, played by Katie Lear, says her Christian God always listens to her and Minerva retorts, "Does he, honey?"