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L.A. Beat

Pretty , Witty and Gay begins with Like Orpheus exploring sexual assault

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Theatre Outré begin Pretty, Witty and Gay with a gripping new  original play, “Like Orpheus” at Club Didi, Feb. 25-March 1.Kevin Jesuino and Brett Dahl perform in Like Orpheus at Club Didi, Feb. 25-March 1. Photo by Richard Amery
Like Orpheus is loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, and is the first play written by Calgary based actor and playwright Brett Dahl.

“It’s a dark play about sexual assault,” summarized Theatre Outré artistic director Jay Whitehead , who directs this play.
 It is about a young man who is sexually assaulted at an underground club and how he survives the trauma.

“ But it’s also hopeful,” Whitehead continued, adding “Like Orpheus,” is the second production of the season as theatre Outré sold out a run of “Sapientia” in the fall.

The myth of Orpheus is about the musician and poet Orpheus who journeyed to the underworld to save his wife Eurydice on the condition that he not look back to see she is following him home.

“Brett has been with Theatre Outré for the five out of the past six seasons, so we’re excited to have him back,” Whitehead said.

“ We want to support  Brett’s work. It’s a really great script. And we hope people will come away with a different view of sexual assault. This play is a really visceral experience about how people grapple with these experiences. So maybe it will be easier to talk about,,” Whitehead said.

Dahl is excited to return to Theatre Outré, having performed in Thought in 3 Parts and Tab and Landon, to name just a couple shows.
“It’s my first play,” he enthused.
“ When I was growing up, I was always inspired by Greek mythology and wanted to write  something inspired by them,” Dahl said.

 I wanted to express the myth of Orpheus in a queer setting. The character goes to an underground club and there is a sexual assault,” he continued, adding that  part of the play was inspired by true events  which happened to people he knows.
“Sexual assault happens more than it should in the gay community,” he said.

 After the play closes at Club Didi,TheaKevin Jesuino and Brett Dahl perform in Like Orpheus at Club Didi, Feb. 25-March 1. Photo by Richard Amerytre Outré will be bringing it to the International Dublin Gay Theatre  festival, which will be a new experience  for Dahl, but not for Theatre Outré and Jay Whitehead, who has won awards with their productions.

“I just hope  people will come away form the show more willing to talk about sexual assault and coping with it,” Dahl said.

There is a lot of movement and physicality in the production featuring actors  Brett Dahl and  Kevin Jesuino dressed in black tights, dancing and moving.
 “This play was one we that was well suited to movement theatre,” Whitehead said, adding Theatre Outré have always wanted to put on a movement theatre piece.

“Like Orpheus ” is the cornerstone event of Pretty Witty and Gay, which began, Feb. 22, with a new play reading of Ryan Diller’s “Public Arts Ohio” at Club Didi. Naked Monologues returns to Club Didi, Feb. 23.

And the week ends at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre with Pretty Witty and Gay cabaret, March 2 at 8 p.m. It features a variety of performers including Didi d’Edada,Sophie Wright, The Desert Wind Belly Dancers, Carisa Morden, Deonie Hudson,Jake Rose and Madeline Smith, Bente Hansen and lots more. Tickets for that show are $30.

“This is the fourteenth year of pretty , Witty and Gay, so we have a lot of performances by people in the community,” Whitehead said.

 Like Orpheus runs from Feb. 25 – March 1, at Club Didi at 8 p.m. each night.  It is the second performance of Theatre Outré’s 2018/2019 Martyrs, Myths and Memoirs Season. Tickets are $21.50.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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