Pandemonium

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‘Pandemonium’ thinks outside the box
By NICOLE LIEURANCE
An ancient Greek myth gets a makeover in Tabard Theatre Company’s Pandemonium as writer/director Susannah Greenwood reveals what “really” happened when Pandora opened her infamous box. Greenwood’s first full-length original play, Pandemonium is a wild magical ride that takes its characters through eight world locations, throwing music, dance, costuming and myths from these cultures into the mix. From the Australian Aboriginal “Dreamtime”to Celtic Ireland,Pandemonium delves into some of the greatest legends of all time—with creative license, of course. Pandemonium,which concludes Tabard’s seventh season,makes its debut April 25-May 10 at the Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro St.,San Jose. With a cast that includes both adults and children (the youngest performers are only 7) this production is family-friendly,but isn’t just for the kids.“This show will definitely engage an adult audience,”Tabard founder and artistic director Cathy Spielberger Cassetta says. “It’s aimed at kids, but we think adults will have an equally fun time.” And Greenwood says Pandemonium is about more than just entertainment.“I wanted to share my love for world cultures and spark an interest in these myths from all around the world.” In the Greek myth of Pandora, the gods give her a magical box, but instruct her not to open it. Eventually, curiosity gets the best of her and she opens the box, releasing all the evils of mankind unto the world. Pandemonium follows Pandora’s husband, Epimetheus, as he

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Alexandra Vigil, Féline Clever and Carolyn DiLoreto find that Pandora’s box contains a world of trouble in ‘Pandemonium.’ travels the world to find the evils and put them back inside the box before they wreak havoc on mankind. Along the way he encounters figures from world mythology, including the Norse god Odin, and Anansi, the spidergod of West African lore. Besides the seven evils that come from the box, there is one good force—Hope—that becomes a central character in the play. It is this character that inspired the Tabard staff to donate a portion of concession proceeds to HOPE Services, a nonprofit group that aids individuals with developmental disabilities. “Hope, in the play, represents the human ability to persevere through any hardship, and that's what HOPE Services represents for the developmentally disabled,” Cassetta says. Tabard selects a charity to benefit from each of its productions. Tabard also offers a “Perspective Series” for blind and visually impaired patrons.Actors will pass around props and narrate physical details to enhance the experience of those who can’t see the stage. The Perspective performance of Pandemonium will be on April 26. Guide dogs are welcome. Greenwood says that she strives for authenticity in both the costuming and props for Pandemonium. An avid traveler herself, she has collected artifacts from a number of locations to use as props. Marilyn Watts, who is in charge of costuming, has replicated the styles of clothing from the periods and locations of the play based on Greenwood’s research. Greenwood has also selected authentic music for the show, and choreographed dance routines based on geography. She has even bought a realWestAfrican drum that will be played during the performance by an Ethiopian drummer. Greenwood says that she hopes Pandemonium will leave the audience with a desire to know more about mythology and world cultures. As Cassetta puts it,“Theater is more than a show.” Tickets are $10-$22. For more information, call 408.679.2330 or visit www.tabardtheatre.org.

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quent moves and a shortage of appropriate-sized venues. Theatre on San Pedro Square and a resident company of the same name were founded in 2000 by De Mattei and former business partner Michael Smythe.De Mattei, who is moving to New York City to pursue acting and directing opportunities, sought another company to take over the lease. Cassetta notes that the 200-seat

venue suits Tabard in both its intimate size and its simple black-box style. The theater also features a bar, which will serve wine and beer during the public-use period,and won’t serve alcohol during Tabard’s season, with the company’s focus on family-friendly shows. Under Tabard’s residency,Theatre on San Pedro Square will retain its name. Cassetta says she hopes that Tabard can carry on De Mattei’s legacy.“Gary De Mattei created a fabulous little venue here,”Cassetta says.“It’s different than any venue around.I’m really hoping to make this place thrive.”

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