Snowlion Repertory Company, whose mission is to create, develop, and present new theater works of cultural, ethical, and spiritual value, announces the world premiere production of the new multimedia play “Omniphobia” running Oct. 4-13 at Portland Ballet Studio Theater in Portland.
“Omniphobia” tells the story of a day in the life of Emily, a college professor desperately trying to navigate her fears in an increasingly chaotic society. The ensemble plays a variety of zany roles - allegorical characters such as Worry and Dread inhabiting the Forest of Fears, upended fairy tale folk like Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Wolf, backstabbing ultra-competitive students, helicopter and no-rescue parents, mistrustful and panicked churchgoers, frenzied and unstable politicians, absurdly unctuous merchants peddling preposterous fear-based wares, even a "neo-druid." “Omniphobia” is a fast-paced, hilarious, yet chilling multimedia tour through the human psyche.
The mutlimedia play was created and developed by a group of Los Angeles actors who brought into workshop news items, cultural mythology, current events, and personal concerns, all centered around the theme of "fear." Those ideas were explored through investigation, improvisation, and discussion, and that material was refined in a second, more in-depth workshop. after which project Snowlion Rep Artistic Director Al D'Andrea created a script that has since been further honed based on up-to-the-minute happenings.
“Omniphobia” explores the theme of fear and the ways humans seek to confront, work around, or flee from personal and societal fears. The show illustrates scenes from real life, along with dreamscapes, allegories, poetry, and myth, all shining a light on how we cope with what scares us in the world and how we must overcome the limitations of a fear-based life. Humor is an important part of the story, which is told with multimedia aspects such as projected scenic elements and quotes commenting on the action, images on three monitors exposing various fears in our culture, and even a live video feed of main character Emily as she struggles to understand the world around her through contemplation of mortality and meaning.
The show is written and directed by Al D'Andrea directs a multi-ethnic cast is as follows: Gusta Johnson as Professor Emily Robertson; Elizabeth Chasse-King as a variety of characters, including Chicken Little; Emily Grotz as a variety of characters, such as the allegorical representation of Hope; Tom Handel as a variety of characters, such as a chess-playing war Hawk; Bob Pettee as a variety of characters, such as politician Congressman Backwater; Linda Shary* as a variety of characters, such as the Grammy from hell; Ashanti Williams as a variety of characters, such as "fear conditioning specialist" and Kirby Collin Young as a variety of characters, such as an overzealous ROTC student on campus.
Performance dates and times: Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 pm; Friday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m.
A special audience talk back follows the Sunday, Oct. 6 performance at which, a prominent psychologist from the Portland area will participate in a mediated discussion about the issues explored in the play. All are welcome to attend the talk back.
The show is supported in part by grants from the Maine Humanities Council and the Cricket Foundation. Performances are at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater, 517 Forest Avenue, Portland. Tickets are $21 and can be purchased at www.snowlionrep.org or by calling (207) 518-9305. For more information, visit www.snowlionrep.org.