Polytheistic tragedy and wit blended seamlessly in the Kresge Little Theater with MIT Community Players' production of Alcestis by Euripides as translated by Ted Hughes and directed by Bob Mussett. A colorful cast in terms of clothing and character offered up an evening of theatre upon which the most discriminating god of drama would have to smile.
The irony of living with the threat of eternal death finds a royal household in mourning and its King Admetos fraught with guilt. His young Queen Alcestis has volunteered to offer her own untimely death for his. Enter old friend Heracles with cohorts as comic relief and the tale gradually elevates from tragic to light-hearted.
Chris Kreis as the likable yet somewhat ignoble king conveyed an endearing naivete beneath a cloud of contempt. Atissa Banuazizi as Alcestis portrayed a gentle queen turned sacrificial lamb. And Heracles nimbly acted by David Shaw added sarcastic overtones complimenting the straight lines and fine acting by the rest of the cast.
No doubt director Bob Mussett had his hands full in terms of blocking a diverse cast of seventeen characters in such an intimate space. He proved successful in the use of exits and stairs, employing avant-garde set, sound and lighting designs. All contributed to an evening of thought-provoking theatre at MIT.
(Alcestis performances Friday 12/12 @ 8pm and Saturday 12/13 @ 2pm and 7pm. Info at www.mit.edu/activities/mitcp)