Isis and Vesco Investigate the Curious Death of Dr. Freud mixes it all up –genres (thriller, myth, and classical theater), collaborators (producer Catherine Aselford , director Carl Brandt Long), time periods (modern New York City, Nineteenth Century Vienna, and Ancient Egypt), and “ologies” (psychology and mythology).
The play sets historical and mythical figures into a mash-up of genres and time streams. Things begin when the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis, played by Cate Brewer, joins the NYPD seeking to shake off her traditional role as ideal mother, wife, and life-giver, and to learn how to exact vengeance on her brother-in-law Seth.
Seth has maimed her husband and Isis believes it is her duty to avenge her husband’s attack. But her goddess training hasn’t quite prepared her for the task. So now she must wrestle not only with the dichotomy of Isis as goddess and Isis as earthly detective, but with charming rogue Vesco, played by Sun King Davis.
Vesco, the Madoff of the 1970s, stumbles into Isis’s life when he makes a deal with the FBI to act as a “consultant” for the NYPD. Vesco’s been a cad, but nice girls can’t resist bad boys. And Isis is no exception.
Aselford and Long have collaborated before. She had previously directed Long in Guillotine’s project Gianni Schicchi. Now it’s his turn to direct her. Aselford plays the New York medical examiner in charge of Dr. Freud’s autopsy. Says Long, “The play reminds me of [the FX cartoon] Archer, in that multiple time periods exist simultaneously. Time is elastic, and Ancient Egypt, Columbian drug cartels, mobile phones, 1970s securities fraud, and a Victorian Dr. Freud coexist in the story.” Other inspirations Long drew from include Casino Royale (the swinging 1960s version starring Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Ursula Andress, and David Niven), Salvador Dali, Memento, and Inception (“even though it’s not as good as Memento.”)
Long emphasizes that the story is universal, “You don’t need to know anything about psychoanalysis, Egyptian Gods, or Vesco’s stock fraud to enjoy the play. It works on a lot of levels.” The audience will also recognize some familiar genres. Isis and Vesco takes classical theater (poetry and monologs) and pops it in a blender with a twisty spy thriller, and a romantic police procedural. Says Long, “the play harkens back to all the traditional elements of these genres, but in a really fresh way.”
Isis and Vesco Investigate the Curious Death of Dr. Freud is produced by Guillotine Theatre. Guillotine’s founder, Catherine Aselford, thinks the play fits perfectly into the company’s mission. Says Aselford, “Guillotine produces plays with classic literary themes and larger than life stories. Isis and Vesco has life and death struggles and a romance, but also plays with the audience’s expectations, injecting comedy in unexpected places, and with plot twists aplenty. Carl is the perfect director to bring this story to life.”
Isis and Vesco Investigate the Curious Death of Dr.. Freud performs July 12 (9:30pm), July 18 (6pm), July 20 (1:30pm), July 24 (7:45pm), and July 26 (4pm) at Redrum, Fort Fringe, 610 L Street NW, Washington, DC
More information may be found at www.isisvescofreud.com.
— from guest writer Catherine Aselford, actor/director and Artistic Director of Guillotine Theatre (formerly The Georgetown Theatre Company)
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