Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ouroboros: The Priest's Tale

‘OUROBOROS’ makes for challenging viewing at convergence continuum

'OUROBOROS,’ the name of the duo of plays now being staged at convergence continuum, is based on a snake, a Greek mythological creature. A being that, according to legend, is eternally devouring it's own tail, replenishing while destroying.

Tom Jacobson’s play also replenishes while it destroys as it examines the intersecting quest of two American couples as they travel Italy. The odd thing about what’s going on is that both couples are traveling the same route, but in opposite directions. How then do we continue to observe them as there paths continually intersect?

The play is actually two plays. One, ‘THE NUN’S TALE,’ the other ‘THE PRIEST’S TALE.’ One is a comedy, the other a tragedy. Each is being staged separately, but in tandem.

The quartet consists of a Lutheran minister and his mentally fragile wife who is in Italy to examine Limoges enamels, and a would-be Episcopalian nun traveling with her gay friend, who is trying to recover from the death of his lover. In the aftermath of a sexual encounter between the minister and the nun, a series of “miracles” occur.

The author sees himself as a combination of the two main male characters— he's gay and Lutheran. And the two women in the play are based on his friend who is an Episcopalian nun.

According to Jacobson, his characters are searching for love, faith and meaning. He therefore structured "THE NUN'S TALE" so the nun and her gay friend find their lives transformed, while in "THE PRIEST'S TALE," it's the minister and his wife who are gradually transformed.

The congruence-continuum production, under the theatre’s artistic director Clyde Simon, is on track. He allows the viewer to understand the backward-forward concept, while holding our attention, even if we may not understand all of the nuances of the script.

The cast, Joe Schultz (Philip) is believable as the minister, Amy Bistok-Bunce (Catherine), though some of her lines lack meaning, is acceptable as Phillip’s wife. Sarah Kunchik (Margaret) is basically on-target as the nun. Geoffrey Hoffman goes a little overboard as the fey Tor, but has a nice touch with humor. Interestingly, Christian Prentice, who plays a series of roles, gives the best overall performance.

Simon’s Italy set is nicely done, especially considering the small size of The Limitus (the venue’s name).

For the ‘uptight,” be aware that in ‘THE PRIEST’S TALE,’ there are simulated sex scene’s including both female-male and male-male sex.

Capsule Judgement: ‘OURBOROS’ is a mixture of déjà vu meets “The Twilight Zone.” Both the structure and the topic challenge the imagination. It’s worth a visit to convergence-continuum if you are interested a convoluted yet challenging experience.