What was Bailey Drew’s reaction at Awake All Night’s first read-through?
“Oh my gosh. I’m so excited. I’m freaking out,” says the 16 year-old actress. “I want to do all of this, now.”
Bailey plays Ariadne, one of two unlucky lovers in Itai Yasur’s Awake All Night, a new Capital Fringe Festival musical about Greek gods, unrequited love, and pencils. In Awake All Night, Greek messenger god Hermes attempts to harness his remarkable rhyming skills and musical talent- he did, after all, invent the world’s first instrument- to win over the affections of college student Ariadne. Unfortunately for him, and yet unknown to her, Ariadne belongs to her own, entirely separate Greek myth, and their relationship is doomed by distance and this inevitability.
Bailey calls it “a very intellectual show” but Itai, the show’s composer and director, says his top priority is to entertain. “I really think theater’s highest cause isn’t to change the world or the national dialogue. It’s to give people something to do for an hour that’s better than not going to the theater. If people are entertained by it, then we’ve done our job,” he says.
According to Garrett Matthews, who plays Hermes, Awake All Night strikes exactly the right balance of entertaining and thought-provoking. “It’s like a combination of Dr. Seuss and modern-day Shakespeare,” he says, referring to the show’s dialogue written entirely in rhyming verse. Dramaturg Amelia Dornbush agrees that the show is engaging, and emotional. She says it’s “multi-layered, sharp, and most powerfully, deeply, tragically relevant.” And, Garrett adds, it will have no trouble reaching people. “You’ll leave the show humming a tune. It’s not something that happens at you. It’s something that happens to you.”
The story, which takes place over the course of one night, fills in the gaps where mythology may have left off. Hermes, Garrett says, is “a side god.”
“He’s never focused on. He’s always coming into other people’s stories and doing things.” In Awake All Night, Hermes finally gets to narrate his own story, and it’s not at all too late, Garrett says. “When’s the last time a greek myth was written? But if they’re all immortal, then they’re still around.”
Yet the Classical Greek focus doesn’t detract from the show’s universal themes. Awake All Night is about “love, commitment, obsessions, egoism, fighting against the inevitable, fighting for yourself, heartbreak, liberation,” Amelia says. “Most simply,” she adds, “I could say it is about two people in relationship both with each other, with themselves, and with the world around them, and the ways in which that relationship splinters.”
Besides, Itai says, even for those not completely enamored with mythology or sympathetic to the pain of unrequited love, there’s another reason to come to the show: it promises the newness and energy that Fringe is all about. “This is something that’s completely new in a genre that doesn’t exactly explode with new work. And I think it would be nice to see very young work- in terms of staff and cast, I think this is the youngest show I’ve seen yet at Fringe,” he says. “It’s amateur theater in the best sense of the word.”
PERFORMANCES ARE AT:
Brookland Artspace Lofts Studio – 3305 8th St. NE, in Washington, DC 20017
Saturday 7/11 at 8:00 PM
Sunday 7/12 at 5:30 PM
Saturday 7/18 at 12:15 PM
Wednesday 7/22 at 9:15 PM
Saturday 7/25 at Noon
FOR TICKETS, CALL (866) 811-4111, OR PURCHASE THEM ONLINE.
Brookland Artspace Lofts Studio is wheelchair accessible and minutes away from the Brookland Metro Station.
This production is presented as part of the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.