Cruiser Theatre Co. to bring Greek myth to life

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo courtesy of Erin McLaughlin
Members of Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company rehearse some choreography for the troupe’s upcoming performance of “Persephone Underground.” Pictured in the forefront are Arianna Thomas (left) and Alyssa Brown (right) practicing the dance for the wedding scene. Both actresses will appear as Persephone at different points.

Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company is reaching back to a Greek myth for its next performance.

The theatre troupe will present “Persephone Underground,” written by Carol S. Lashof, on May 14 at 7 p.m. and May 15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 each and can be purchased through a link on the “Currently Onstage” tab of the troupe’s website at cruisertheatre.weebly.com.

“We are not having live audiences for this show due to the ongoing pandemic circumstances,” said Erin McLaughlin, Groveport Madison High School Theatre director. “However, we are going to try to actually livestream performances rather than pre-recording them. Regardless of whether or not that works as planned, audiences can see the show from the comfort of their own homes thanks to our streaming partner On The Stage. There is no limit to how many people can virtually attend each performance.”

About the play
McLaughlin said “Persephone Underground” is best classified as a one-act drama, but it does have a happy ending.

“This play is a retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone,” said McLaughlin.

She said that, in this version, it is Hades’ Son who has a romance with Persephone, rather than Hades himself.

“However, at its core, this play is really about a young woman who is growing up and finding that she has her own dreams and hopes and desires for her life that are at odds with her mother’s plans for her,” said McLaughlin. “In the end, she must decide whether she becomes her own person or becomes what her mother wants her to be. It’s a coming-of-age story that we can all relate to.”

A challenging performance
“It’s been a long time since we’ve done a show with classic romantic leads, which is providing certain challenges to the actors,” said McLaughlin. “We also had many new students audition for this show and perform really well. Since the show only has 10 named roles, two of whom don’t speak much, we’re actually doing the show with two different casts.”

According to McLaughlin, every student involved in the play will participate in every performance, but who plays which role will not be the same for every performance.

“This has created a unique situation where students can workshop roles together, but it also means that we’re doing rehearsals differently than we ever have before,” said McLaughlin. “Both sets of actors are excellent but each actor is putting their own unique spin on the character(s) they play, and I highly recommend watching both casts perform, if you have the means to do so.”

McLaughlin said the show is also written in such a way that a lot of the scenic elements will be created with light and sound and cast members rather than actual pieces of scenery.
“It’s very artistic, but not a style of show we’ve had a lot of experience with up to this point,” said McLaughlin.

The lead roles in “Persephone Underground” are Persephone, Demeter, and Hades’ Son.

“In the Friday evening show, Persephone will be played by Alyssa Brown, Demeter will be played by Olivia Chaney, and Hades’ Son will be played by Donovan Jones,” said McLaughlin. “In both Saturday shows, Persephone will be played by Arianna Thomas, Demeter will be played by Jozlin Taylor, and Hades’ Son will be played by Gavin Prifogle. Both sets of actors are phenomenal.”

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