Performances of “Heavier Than…,” a new work from rising playwright Steve Yockey, are being presented in Bartlett Theatre throughout the weekend. A modern interpretation of the Greek myth of the Minotaur, “Heavier Than…” places the mythic beast, Asterius, at both the center of his labyrinth and his story. The play is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Heather May.
“I selected the show because I was drawn to the beautiful imagery that is both poetic and stark,” May says. “Also, because the plot can relate to college-age students who are newly independent, searching for their identity.”
With a heavy head and heart, Asterius lives an isolated life. He is chaperoned by a chorus of three women, visited by the alternately comforting and combative boy Icarus, and haunted by visions of his family. Witty, moving and painful, “Heavier Than…” fits beautifully into a collegiate theatre season, with its focus on coming of age and finding meaning outside of selfish pursuits.
As Yockey explained to the LA Stage Times, this play examines “that moment that everyone encounters…where you realize that your parents are actual individual people apart from yourself. That they have their own histories, their own ghosts, that it doesn’t all revolve around you.”
Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22. There also will be a matinee showing at 2 p.m. on Saturday. All performances will be held in Bartlett Theatre in Coxe Hall. Tickets for a previously scheduled Thursday performance will be honored at the Saturday production.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at Area Records or the Campus Bookstore. Tickets are free to HWS students and $5 general admission.
The cast is comprised of Jeffrey Matos ’16 (Asterius); Justin Tacuri ’17 (Icarus); Wesley Cady ’15 (Pasiphae); Kayli Ennis ’17 (Ariadne); and Mariana Bell ’16, Denisse Cotto ’15 and MAT student Lara Thomas ’13 as the Chorus. Sarah Ford ’15 is the stage manager and Grace Weiner ’15 is assistant stage manager.
“Working on the role of Asterius has been a great experience,” says Matos, who notes the role has been both fun and challenging. “Aster has quite a unique story and we find him in a delicate time where his reality is being challenged. Putting myself in his situation has been the most interesting part of the process for me and as rehearsals proceed the character further develops.”
May joined the faculty last fall after leaving Auburn University, where she had been on the faculty for six years. She has previously directed for Washington University in St. Louis, Grinnell College, Indiana University, Auburn University, ShatterMask Theatre, The Theatre Conspiracy, Bloomington Playwrights Project and the Wizard of Oz Centennial Celebration. She joined Actors’ Equity Association as a stage manager in 1995, and was the founder and artistic director of Auburn University’s Mosaic Theatre Company, a group devoted to devising theatre around issues of diversity in order to foster dialogue. May holds a Ph.D. in theatre and drama from Indiana University, an M.A. in drama from Washington University in St. Louis, and a B.A. in theatre from Grinnell College. This is her first production for Hobart and William Smith Colleges.