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      Icarus and Aria
    Bard for life

    Kirk Wood Bromley weaves Shakespeare-inspired verse into a masterful, contemporary-feeling play about the forbidden love of a football hero and the coach's daughter in the raucously inventive "Icarus and Aria."


    I want to be careful with my comparisons here, but for at least a taste of what it must have been like to see Shakespeare in his own time, you couldn't do better than Kirk Wood Bromley's "Icarus and Aria."

    Written by: Kirk Wood Bromley.
    Directed by: Joshua Spafford.
    Cast: Seth Allen, Jesse Atlas, Alan Benditt, Sarah Bunker, Megan Dullaghan, Jonathan Green, Mark Greenfield, Emily Greenhill, Olivia Jane Greer, Billie James, Christian Johnstone, Michael Kayne, Robert Laine, Hemky Madera, Aria McKenna, Gina Merchan, Frank Perozo, Kate Rose, Joshua Spafford.

    Related links: Official site
    Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center
    107 Suffolk St. north of Delancey
    March 20-30, 2002

    Bromley and his company, Inverse Theater, specialize in verse plays telling contemporary stories set in the current day but always recalling The Bard with their melodic poetry, sprightly wordplay, distinctive characters and raucous mix of comedy, romance and tragedy. Following Bromley's "Midnight Brainwash Revival", "Want's Unwisht Work" and "Burnt Woman of Harvard," the company has brought back this evocative, nimbly written and enormously entertaining 1997 play.

    Icarus (Michael Kayne) is a football hero breaking into the bigs with the so-called Arizona Aztecs. His arrival in town has not only excited Coach Jones (Mark Greenfield of "FunBox Times Square" and "God of Vengeance"), who calls him "a goddamn trophy machine," but also the entire female population of Phoenix including the coach's lovely daughter, Aria (Kate Rose). She yearns tragically, complaining that without him, "life is an unsuccessful suicide."

      It's a mark of how giddily inventive Bromley's script can be that even the sportscasters spout their cliches in iambic pentameter.
    When Icarus and Aria fall in love and run off, the town is in an uproar — not least because he's missing the first day of training camp. The mystery fuels speculation that they've been done in by Icarus's sinister brother Primalo, who runs an evil crime mob called El Imaginero. Perhaps all will end badly, as Icarus's sister intimates when she warns him, "Cicadas leave their shells upon the wall / Fly free for a day and then they fall."

    Everything clicks in "Icarus and Aria" — characters, dialogue, performance and staging. The title characters are romantically played by Michael Kayne and Kate Rose, and Joshua Spafford (who doubles as director and was a standout as the devil in "Midnight Brainwash Revival") is excellent as the bad brother Primalo. And some of the secondary roles are priceless. Emily Greenhill plays an itinerant desert medicine woman who nicknames the pair "leaf girl" and "rock boy" and offers to use her powers to marry them.

    "Are you married?" she asks them.

    "We are enjoined in bliss!" answers Icarus, giving Aria a squeeze.

    "Then you ain't married," the woman answers.

    Alan Benditt has a hilarious scene as a survivalist whose only love is his rifle, and he and Robert Laine team up as a pair of sportscasters commenting on the action from time to time. It's a mark of how giddily inventive Bromley's script can be that even the sportscasters spout their cliches in iambic pentameter.

    MARCH 28, 2002

    Reader comments on Icarus and Aria:

  • Icarus and Aria   from LMC, Aug 13, 2002
  • Re: Icarus and Aria   from john doe, Aug 22, 2002

  • Post a comment on "Icarus and Aria"