Argonautika First Rehearsal Recap
By Bridgette Ramirez
February 15, 2019
All aboard the Argo! Our largest cast of the spring season gathered together for the first time with our captain Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and her crew of designers for Argonautika: The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts. Julia Rodriguez-Elliott opened first rehearsal by sharing her love for the play, which she considered a fairy tale for adults and children alike. Argonautika paves the way for both large-scale magical theatricality and a nuanced view of female characters like Hera and Medea, story aspects that Rodriguez-Elliott was enthusiastic to explore.
Many women are taking the helm for this production, from playwright Mary Zimmerman, to director Rodriguez-Elliott, to the creative designers, to our lead goddesses Trisha Miller and Veralyn Jones as Athena and Hera. To have all these women in one room made the event especially exciting.
Rodriguez-Elliott first discussed her unique directorial vision for the show, which will involve more music and movement with the original text and collaborating with our fight choreographer and movement director to build a cohesive, expressive physicality. Afterward, Scenic Designer Frederica Nascimento described the thrilling opportunity to combine both Zimmerman and Rodriguez-Elliott to tell such an epic story. Major elements in her design included the immense ocean, hard lines of rope, expansive fabric, and great heights from which actors will leap and climb and jump. A bridge will span across the back of stage and will be filled with trap doors and moveable ladders that add tricks and sleight of hand to the non-stop action. And if that’s not enough, a butterfly lift and aerial silks will bring the antics to the air. Meanwhile, Props Master Erin Walley has made herself busy building puppets, miniature Argos, and, of course, the famous golden ram that starts Jason’s voyage in the first place.
Costume Designer Jenny Foldenauer and Costume Associate Dayna L. Lucas demonstrated their plethora of character sketches, with two to three costumes for almost every actor. The look for Argonautika will not be your typical Greek – with feathers, gold, and flowers for the gods and a distressed, gritty aesthetic for the Argonauts. Headdresses. Dyed colors. Mixed textures. Layers upon layers. The costumes had a vivacity, freshness, and extravagance that overwhelmed the senses. However, Foldenauer reassured the actors that she will be always thinking about their constant movement and quick changes.
All these designer presentations were just a sampling of the spellbinding worlds and swashbuckling adventures to come on our stage this March. Are you prepared to join our quest? Get tickets now!