×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Prometheus Bound

Propelled by a lean script, cut-to-the-quick lyrics and an angst-filled score, this world preem hits the zeitgeist jackpot.

With:
Prometheus - Gavin Creel
Force - Lea DeLaria
Oceanos - Michael Cunio
Hephaistos/Hermes - Gabe Ebert
Violence/Daughter of the Aether - Jo Lampert
Io - Uzo Aduba

It’s not been a good year for the world’s tyrants. And now, even Zeus is being challenged in a raw and rocking version of “Prometheus Bound,” helmed with a fierce rebel spirit by Diane Paulus. Propelled by a lean script and cut-to-the-quick lyrics by Steve Sater and an angst-filled score by Serj Tankian, this world preem hits the zeitgeist jackpot.

Just as she did with her playful “Donkey Show,” Paulus turns a nightclub space into a hive of theatrical action. Here she creates a kind of rocking Tahrir Square with a mostly standing audience filling in for the masses as they witness the public suffering of the indie god Prometheus (Gavin Creel). Shackled and writhing, he becomes a defiant hero and ultimate martyr as he brands his former ally Zeus an unjust and cruel master of the universe.

Paulus’ ever-shifting and fluid staging does much to energize an otherwise tethered 500 (or so) B.C. play by Aeschylus. Setting its angst to a powerful rock score also gives the work added drive, if not dimension. (Tankian also offers breaks of entrancing singing by a trio of celestials — Jo Lampert, Celina Carvajal and Ashley Flanagan — and several poignant songs delivered by Uzo Aduba as Zeus’ wandering ex Io.)

The staging and songs enliven what is essentially a discourse: the back story on why Zeus created the ultimate restraining order, punishing Prometheus for giving humankind the gifts of hope and fire.

But a little bondage does not keep a good god down. Even when Hephaistos (Gabe Ebert) urges him to relent, Oceanos (Michael Cinio) implores Prometheus to just go along and Hermes (Ebert again) threatens him with more torture. Also on hand to make life even crappier are Zeus’s henchmen Violence (Lampert) and Force (Lea DeLaria, who gets to show off some neat scat singing).

A buff Creel sings strongly and suffers in infinite ways, making this human-friendly god not just noble but knowing — as in the greater purpose of his torment and its ultimate resolution. But one longs for more variety of tone or even some lighter touches (the jaundiced and fey Hermes just doesn’t do the trick).

Still, there’s empowerment in this collared revolt and even ecstasy arrives amid the agony in the work’s final moments, ending with a rebel yell and the understanding that in the end right will prevail and the mighty will fall. Even if he’s a god.

Prometheus Bound

Club Oberon, Cambridge; 250 capacity; $75 top

Production: An American Repertory Theater presentation of a musical in one act by Steven Sater, with music by Serj Tankian and lyrics by Sater. Directed by Diane Paulus.

Creative: Sets, Riccardo Hernandez; costumes, Emily Rebholz; lighting, Kevin Adams; choreography, Stephen Petronio; sound, Clive Goodwin. Opened, reviewed Mar. 4, 2011. Runs through Apr. 2. Running time: 80 MIN.

Cast: Prometheus - Gavin Creel
Force - Lea DeLaria
Oceanos - Michael Cunio
Hephaistos/Hermes - Gabe Ebert
Violence/Daughter of the Aether - Jo Lampert
Io - Uzo AdubaWith: Celina Carvajal, Ashley Flanagan, Emmanuel Avellanet, Kevin Lin, Bart Mather.

More Legit

  • Alexander Dinelaris

    'Jekyll and Hyde' Movie in the Works Based on Broadway Musical

    The Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde” is getting the movie treatment from Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris. Dinelaris, who is writing and producing the adaptation, won an Oscar for the “Birdman” script and was a co-producer on “The Revenant.” He is producing “Jekyll and Hyde” as the first project under his New York-based development company, [...]

  • Sam Mendes

    Listen: The 'Balls-Out Theatricality' of Sam Mendes

    If you find yourself directing a Broadway play with a cast so big it includes a goose, two rabbits, more kids than you can count and an actual infant, what do you do? If you’re Sam Mendes, you embrace the “balls-out theatricality” of it all. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “There is a kind [...]

  • James Corden Tony Awards

    James Corden to Host 2019 Tony Awards (EXCLUSIVE)

    James Corden has been tapped to once again host the Tony Awards, Variety has learned exclusively. “The Late Late Show” host previously emceed the annual theater awards show in 2016, and won the Tony for best actor in a play for his performance in “One Man, Two Guvnors” in 2012. “I’m thrilled to be returning to [...]

  • Frozen review Broadway

    ‘Frozen’ the Musical Opening in London in 2020

    “Frozen” the musical is coming to London and will open in the West End in fall 2020. The Michael Grandage-directed Disney Theatrical Productions stage show has been on Broadway for a year. Grandage’s production is now set to re-open Andrew Lloyd Webber’s refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are behind the [...]

  • Nantucket Sleigh Ride review

    Off Broadway Review: John Guare's 'Nantucket Sleigh Ride'

    Anyone who doesn’t have a cottage on the Cape or the Islands, as they say in Massachusetts, might be puzzled by the title of John Guare’s new play.  “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” is no Revere Beach amusement park ride, but an old whaling term for the death throes of a whale that is still attached to [...]

  • Kiss Me Kate review

    Broadway Review: 'Kiss Me, Kate'

    No, Kate doesn’t get spanked. And for those wondering how the dicey ending of “Kiss Me, Kate” — that musical mashup of “The Taming of the Shrew” and backstage battling exes — would come across in these more sensitive times, well, that’s also been reconsidered for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway revival of the Cole [...]

  • Betrayal review Tom Hiddleston

    West End Review: Tom Hiddleston in 'Betrayal'

    It takes three to tango, and Jamie Lloyd’s “Betrayal” completely grasps that. Having made it his mission to modernize the way we stage Harold Pinter’s plays, his chic, stripped-down staging starring Tom Hiddleston as a cuckolded husband might be his best attempt yet. Pared back and played out on an empty stage, this masterful play [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content