Orphée presented by Deaf West Theatre

Jean Cocteau's 1926 play is viewed through the unique lens of Deaf West Theatre
By: Deaf West Theatre
LOS ANGELES - March 3, 2020 - PRLog -- Orpheus, Eurydice, a trouble-making horse and Death converge in a funny, irreverent reimagining of the Greek myth by surrealist poet, playwright and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. Deaf West Theatre views Cocteau's whimsical, magical and highly visual play, first performed in 1926, through a unique lens: translated from the French into Spoken English by John Savacool, into American Sign Language by Andrew Moore. Deena Selenow directs Orphée in a visiting production at the Odyssey Theatre.

Shortly after he wrote the long poem "L'Ange Heurtebise" in 1925, Cocteau adapted the legend of Orpheus and his descent into Hell to rescue his wife, Eurydice, for the stage. With one act and few characters, the play revolves around a story of love and death in a universe where time is abolished and horses make poetry. Cocteau's work deals with the inner personality of the poet and his relentless inclination towards, and fascination with, Death. Described by Cocteau as "part farce, part meditation on death," the playwright explored the same themes throughout his ensuing career, culminating with his seminal "Orphic Trilogy" of films.

"Although the play was written in 1925, it feels oddly modern and is very relevant to these times," notes Deaf West Theatre artistic director David J. Kurs.

"Cocteau has created a world in which words are traded freely — Orpheus even communicates with a horse — yet no one truly understands each other," says Selenow. "This feels very familiar in today's world. It's a fun, messy tapestry for both Deaf and hearing actors and audiences."

Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) was an enormously influential French artist and writer known as one of the major figures of Dada and Surrealism. With an oeuvre that spanned painting, novels, poetry, plays and films, Cocteau established himself as a leading creative force in avant-garde Paris, maintaining long-term friendships with Pablo Picasso, Tristan Tzara, and Man Ray. "The job of the poet (a job which can't be learned) consists of placing those objects of the visible world which have become invisible due to the glue of habit, in an unusual position which strikes the soul and gives them a tragic force," he once mused.

Orphée runs Thurs - Sat at 8 p.m. and Sun at 3 p.m. from March 13 - April 5. Preview March 8, March 11 and March 12 at 8 p.m. There will be four ASL Nights, on March 19, 20; 26, and 27, $35 - $50; Previews $25. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in West L.A. Phone: (818) 762-2998 (voice) or go to www.deafwest.org.

Lucy Pollak
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Tags:Jean Cocteau
Location:Los Angeles - California - United States
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