by Ed Malin · February 23, 2016
The tenth annual Frigid New York festival has sprung.
The first show I got to see is an amusing milkshake of Western Philosophy.
Alaina Hammond’s Set Yet In Motion brings together seven larger-than-life characters, all in the intimate underground space at Under St. Mark’s.
First, there is the distressed Trojan damsel, Cassandra (Malka Wallick) who complains to the blind seer Tiresias (Ken Coughlin) that the immortal Apollo’s lust knows no bounds. Tiresias suggests that Cassandra call on the Judeo-Christian deity to dispose of the Olympian rake. Note the mythological crossover here, but it does come from a guy who as legend has it lived both as a man and a woman. This also explains why Tiresias is caught borrowing Cassandra’s lady-garments.
Wouldn’t you know it; the Judeo-Christian deity is a beautiful woman (Katherine Wessling). She accepts the challenge of breaking strong-arrowed Apollo (James Rieser), and summons two philosophers known for writing a whole lot about faith and action: Immanuel Kant (Vincent Bivona) and Johannes Climacus, a.k.a. Søren Kierkegaard (Christian Michael Ramirez). Johannes is ready to take the leap of faith, but Her Majesty tells Immanuel it’s imperative that he smite Apollo (he of the famous Python).
The philosophers in the audience were laughing as Immanuel tried very hard to reason himself out of his task. The canonical chuckles increased as Immanuel sought the help of progressive thinker Friedrich Nietzsche (London Griffith), who has embraced his inner woman and now wears only lingerie. “Now that’s a Friedrich Nietzsche I can get behind!” declares a still non-murderous Immanuel. The suddenly sexually-liberated Nietzsche follows Immanuel to where Apollo, resting under his laurels, has raptured Cassandra. Are you thinking of ten different ways this story could end? I know I was!
I only wish Tiresias could have seen how charmingly the show was directed by longtime Hammond collaborator Michael Bordwell. From white lounge-togas, to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, there are many reasons you should see this show and take a friend who Kant stop laughing.