Gilgamesh deliciously escorts us on a visit to the oral traditions of storytelling. This young troupe of performers courageously voyages to the depths of an epic. Aided only by rehearsal blocks, clip lights, and hand-made instruments, it’s a refreshing reminder of just how good getting back to the basics can be.
When first entering the theatre, as one is greeted by actors warming up, and a stage manager counting down the minutes to show time, it’s difficult to suppress countless experiences with “Experimental” theatre. But from the moment the show begins, all worries are allayed, and we never look back.
Liquid images flank a simple backdrop as the finely tuned ensemble, guided by the collaborative efforts of director Ryan Whinnem, playwright Stephen Spotswood, and composer Kyle Gullings, share the legendary lore with us. Standout performances are given by John Mortel as a physically stalwart Enkidu, and Christopher Zito as a commanding Gilgamesh.
Winding along a course bent on illuminating our current state of affairs, Gilgamesh utilizes fresh stories of events taking place eons ago to quell a restless yearning. For a yarn scholars surmise as the oldest epic story ever told, the narrative is surprisingly easy to digest. Many of the eleven tablets are represented in this presentation, and although the stories are certainly condensed, the delivery seems just right.
[Editor’s note: The reviewer is a graduate of Catholic University’s MFA program in directing. This production is by Catholic students. The reviewer does not feel this has affected her ability to critique the production.]
- Running Time: 60 minutes
- Tickets: Gilgamesh, Who Saw the Deep
- Remaining Shows: Thurs, July 24 at 10 . Sat, July 26 at 7
- Where: Source, 1835 14th Street, NW