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The Lily's Revenge Brings More than 40 Players to One New Orleans Stage
Another huge local theatre collaboration is coming to New Orleans this weekend. Jess Bingham previews The Lily's Revenge, a five-act epic opening Wednesday in the Marigny.
New Orleans is one of those special places where our sense of community presides over everything else. It is a city where who dat, where yat, and how ya mom en em is the language for how are you doing to anyone you pass in the street. The local theatre scene has served as an example of this community in recent years, making the Crescent City an ideal place to put on the epic, community-driven tale of The Lily`s Revenge: A Flowergory Manifold. What makes this production special is the massive collaboration of theater companies and directors involved. Following in the footsteps of Balm in Gilead, another major theatre collaboration that wrapped up last month, The Lily`s Revenge goes that extra mile to bring new life to the idea of "theatre community."
The Lily`s Revenge is a story, quite plainly, about a lily in love. The lily, played by Evan Spigelman, has to overcome struggles on his mission to become a man in order to be with his lady love. Southern Repertory Theatre, and Aimee Hayes in particular, is the company who deigned to take on Taylor Mac's enormous work. Mac's work, which premiered in 2009 in New York City, sprouted out of the writer's view that tradition and nostalgia were being used to justify opposition to gay marriage, and the homogenization of cities.
The cast and crew add up to over 60 people, to give one an idea of the overall girth of this production. In addition to Southern Rep, contributors include companies like Cripple Creek Theatre, Skin Horse Theatre, the Allways Lounge and Mondo Bizarro, along with Nari Tomassetti, Jefferey Gunshol and Pamela Davis Noland. Spiegelman called the play is "a complicated journey with a simple heart." It is told in five acts (with intermission instillation pieces by Skin Horse Theatre): musical, verse, dance, silent film, and the big finale which represents the "theatre of the ridiculousness." The production is representative of the Noh theatre discipline, a classical form that originated in Japan with a highly regimented thematic structure.
Bringing together so many different genres of performance art is no easy task, but Spigelman says "New Orleans is the ideal place for this to happen." This is because of our spectacular sense of Carnival, year around. Carrying that idea to its logical conclusion, the group chose to play out its story where Mardi Gras is made. But it won't be under the eye of the Kern family at Mardi Gras World. The Den of Muses, where the famed Krewe du Vieux makes their floats, will reinforce the similarities of "do it yourself Mardi Gras" to "do it yourself theatre" in New Orleans.
Ultimately, The Lily's Revenge makes a "statement on love and community," Spigelman said. Everyone comes to together to help out Lily, much like everyone in New Orleans comes together for reasons large and small, such as putting on a play.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Michael Weber, B.A.
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