Monday, June 1, 2009

Le Serpent Rouge (Company XIV)

By Kitty

Gioia Marchese as the Devil, John Beasant III as Adam and Laura Careless as Eve in Le Serpent Rouge.

BOTTOM LINE: Sin is the new black.

To describe Company XIV's original production, Le Serpent Rouge, as fantastic and marvelous or even wonderful would simply not suffice. This production may very possibly have been sent directly from heaven above because the advanced levels of artistry and the skill in their execution are of biblical proportions.

The story begins with Lilith, Adam's plaything pre-fling with Eve. Once Eve arrives in Eden, Adam carelessly discards Lilith. Now scorned, she transforms into the serpent sent to undo Adam and Eve's idyllic existence. Oh, and what a temptress she is! Yeva Glover's sultry Lilith oozes sinful sex as she slithers in and out of scenes in various stages of undress. Laura Careless' Eve, a beauty in her own right, fights to hold the attention of her supposed soul mate often with mixed results and at one point, even relents to the idea of a threesome in order to satiate Adam's lust.

Writer, director, and choreographer Austin McCormick chooses one character, the very present Gioia Marchese as the Ringmistress, to provide the verbal commentary for the goings-on in the Garden. The remaining communicative responsibility is left to the emotive ensemble which is truly a testament to their talent and clearly an indication of McCormick's unwavering trust in his actors. This clarity is achieved through breath-taking, back-breaking movement...the most gorgeously affecting choreography I have seen in years which is flawlessly executed by each member of the ensemble. Their bodies, smooth and toned, are stunning and add so much sensuality to the piece. McCormick accompanies his choreography with various musical selections from artists as diverse as James Brown and Marilyn Monroe and genres as eclectic as classical opera and bluesy jazz. Despite the broad range of his selections, each piece finds it's place in this bizarrely beautiful puzzle.

Having succeeded in all of this, McCormick also manages to assemble a remarkably creative technical team. Zane Philstroms' sets are beautifully detailed, from the brightly bulbed proscenium arch and its ruched curtain to the light fixtures that follow the edge of the circular stage. Olivera Gajic's costumes add to the decadent European cabaret feel with flamboyant fabrics and textures of satin, tulle, velvet and patent leather. Lighting and sound engineering is smooth and amazingly glitch-free.

Most refreshing about this production is its seemingly flawless execution. So often, productions open under-rehearsed, technically inadequate, and poorly-planned. This production, however, is ready from the word "go" and it is obvious much time, energy, and thought was put towards realizing the potential of this project. Eat the apple and enjoy Le Serpent Rouge!

(Le Serpent Rouge plays through June 6th at Company XIV, 303 Bond Street between Union and Sackett Streets in Brooklyn. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and can be purchased online at or by calling 212-868-4444. Mature content – no one under 17 admitted. Running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. For more information visit

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