Romance can bring drama to life even for the god of desire, a fate revealed in the Chetco Pelican Players’ production of “Cupid & Psyche.”
The play, written by Oregonian playwright Joseph Fisher, takes a modern approach to the ancient Greek tale of Cupid, the God of Desire, and Psyche, a beautiful, highly-adored mortal.
In Fisher’s story, Cupid (Scotty Oka) is summoned by his mother, Aphrodite (Mary Anne Trailor), to solve a problem for her. She is in a terrible rage because her followers are deserting her temple and are instead flocking to the human princess Psyche’s (Daisy Carr) doorstep. This is causing her to age, which is unacceptable to the Goddess of Love.
Aphrodite devises a plan to marry off Psyche to the most ugly, pestilent creature she can find, her servant Runt (Josiah Wise). She sends Cupid to shoot Psyche with one of his golden arrows in hopes that the first person Psyche sees will be Runt. The plan goes awry however, when Cupid falls in love with Psyche upon first glance, and cannot bring himself to make the shot.
For the first time in Cupid’s life, he is faced with the concept of falling instantly in love with someone and does not know how to proceed. In desperation, Cupid consults his uncle, Apollo (Sean Farris), for advice. Apollo however is seeking personal revenge for an act long ago, involving being struck by Cupid’s arrow resulting in his falling in love with a nymph who would rather face death than be pursued by a god. Because of this, Apollo, who carries a memento of the nymph throughout the story, devises a plan that will ultimately destroy the young couple.
Following Apollo’s advice, Cupid marries Psyche, but is forbidden from showing his face to his bride. Psyche appears to feel as though she has been kidnapped rather than betrothed.
Aphrodite soon finds out about the what happened and tries to put a stop to the heartless game with a wager between the gods. And Psyche will go so far as to descend into the depths of Hades to make amends.
Completing the cast are the king (Dan McGlasson), who must reluctantly give his youngest daughter’s hand in marriage, and her two jealous sisters, Maleen (Ariel Farris) and Kris (Mariah Wise), who most certainly do not have their sister’s best interests at heart. The show also features a guest appearance by Canis Maximus (Nibbler Farris).
Although the running time for this production is three hours, and it’s nearly two hours before intermission, this story will keep drama lovers glued to the edge of their seats with the many scene changes, lighting effects, hostilities between characters and modern humor that includes gods texting and talking to each other on cell phones.
Young actors Oka and Carr, who are veterans to the stage, beautifully present their characters although neither has performed a lead role. There are no weak characters in this production.
Because of content, parental guidance is suggested for younger viewers.
The production is directed by Karen de Lucca with the assistance of McGlasson. Greek costuming is by Bj Farris. Special effects lighting and set design is by Ralph Dickey, McGlasson, and Mike Moran. All of the sets are impressive except for Hades, but perhaps this can be left to the imagination, as several other scenes are intended to do.
Shows, which are staged at the Chetco Playhouse, 1240 Chetco Ave., Brookings, are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10 and 11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12. A special Valentine’s Day show will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14. Final shows will be Feb. 17, 18 and 19.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and are available at Chetco Pharmacy and Gifts, and Wright’s Custom Framing and Art Supplies in Brookings, and New Wave Video in Harbor, and at the door. For reservations, call 541-469-1877.