Tale of ancient tragedy gets trailer park makeover
Greek tragedy meets Jerry Springer in “True Love,” the latest production from Burnsville-based Chameleon Theatre Circle.
The script by playwright Charles L. Mee puts a novel twist on an ancient tale – the tragic, blood-soaked story of Phaedra and Hippolytus, set against the backdrop of a mythical Minnesota trailer park.
The driving force behind the show, said director Barbe Marshall, is the array of quirky characters, including a cross-dressing hairdresser (played by Erica S. Young) and an aria-singing auto mechanic (Corinna Knepper Troth). It’s also what makes the show appealing to theater aficionados already familiar with the Hippolytus story.
“Spoiler alert: Everybody dies,” said Marshall. “You know how it’s going to end, but the fun is in how you get there.”
A trash-art aesthetic informed the costume and set design. Beer cans are used as hair curlers. Duct tape holds together a kiddie pool. A rolled-up pizza box serves as a microphone.
“The set sort of looks like the stuff you see on ‘American Pickers.’ We’ve got a lot of what they call rusty gold,” Marshall said.
If you go, expect some mind-bending postmodern weirdness. The playwright described his script as a “collage piece” that incorporates chunks of text from various sources: the writings of Wilhelm Reich, Andy Warhol and Simone de Beauvoir, among others, as well as the transcript of the Menendez brothers murder trial.
Chameleon’s press release for the show notes that “True Love” is suggested for mature audiences.
“Although it’s entertaining and fast-paced, it’s really not for children,” Marshall said. “It’s an exploration of love and lust. There’s nudity and strong language. Parental discretion is advised.”
The show runs April 13-29 in the Burnsville Performing Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and students, and are available in person at the PAC box office and through Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787 or Ticketmaster.com.
More about “True Love” is at www.chameleontheatre.org.