OF MAGICKS, MYTHS & MORTALS, conceived and created by the company with text contributions by Christine Foster, Shoshana Raven Guy, Corrina Hodgson, Eleonore Prokop, Caridad Svich, Padma Viswanathan, Jessica Maynard and Heather Ann McCallum, directed by Mimi Mekler. THE SERPENT'S EGG, conceived and created by the company, written by Lisa Union, directed by Maynard. With Christopher Sawchyn, Prokop, Denise Norman, Laryssa Yanchak, Richard Quesnel and Jeff White. Presented by Frog and Nightgown Theatre at the Theatre Centre (1032 Queen West). Runs to July 2, Of Magicks Thursday 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2 pm, Serpent's Egg Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8 pm. $10-$30, Sunday matinee pwyc. 538-0988. Rating: NN
Celtic myth and New Age philosophy permeate Of Magicks, Myths & Mortals and The Serpent's Egg, the first two parts of a Frog And Nightgown trilogy that plays out archetypal figures in a world of Druids, talismans and fighting rulers. The initial play, a prologue to later events, is the stronger vehicle.
That might seem surprising, given that Of Magicks is actually knit together from works by various authors and further fashioned by the company. It involves a series of tests that a trio of priestesses (Eleonore Prokop, Denise Norman and Laryssa Yanchak) give to King Cuhlainn (Christopher Sawchyn), who must prove his moral and spiritual worthiness before setting out to redeem civilization.
Not all the material succeeds as drama. The best, Padma Viswanathan's playful, slyly satiric tale of duelling deities vying to determine who is the more innocent, is vibrant and engrossing. The narratives, which deal with women's various roles and relationships in society, are sometimes awkward in the writing, but the energetic cast -- they played full out to an audience of three -- give stories and characters a dramatic edge under Mimi Mekler's direction.
The Serpent's Egg continues the tale, as Cuhlainn, now wed to priestess Maeve, gets caught up with the power-hungry Regard (Richard Quesnel), a former ruler whose dreams and history intertwine with Cuhlainn's. Another company creation, this time scripted by Lisa Union, the piece is bad sword-and-sorcery storytelling, tedious and confusing rather than intriguing. Director Jess Maynard encourages empty yelling, though the women's performances again anchor the production.