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Natural Theatricals Opens with Euripides' ‘Ion’

Three plays scheduled for the 2005 season

With one season behind them, Brian and Paula Alprin are looking forward to opening Natural Theatricals’ new season on June 24.

“We evaluated last season and decided we wanted to return,” said Brian Alprin. “We want to be here for a long time.”

Brian Alprin will be directing “Ion” by Euripides and Paula Alprin will play the lead role of Kreousa in that production.

Natural Theatricals announced that three new productions will make up its 2005 summer season. In addition to “Ion,” which runs June 24 through July 17, they will present “Herakles” from Aug. 5 through Aug. 28 and “Alexa’s Necklace” from Sept. 9 through Oct. 2.

Brian Alprin said that there are common themes running through each show, and Paula Alprin said, “The universal theme is a parent’s genuine love for their children.”

Actors returning from last season include Manolo Santalla, who plays Xouthos in "Ion;" he played Lichas in last season's "The Women of Trachis." James Senavitis, who plays the Waiter in "Herakles," played an Attendant in last season's "The Women of Trachis." Also returning is Aimee Meher-Homji, who plays a triple role in "Alexa's Necklace;" she played chorus in last season's "The Women of Trachis." Jennifer Berg, who plays Alexa in "Alexa's Necklace," played Terry in last season's "Antigua."

Paula Alprin said that all the actors are professional actors.

In his Director’s Notes, Brian Alprin comments: “We began last season by presenting a rarely performed Sophoclean tragedy, “The Women of Trachis,” in a new translation by Carl R. Mueller and Anna Krajewska-Wieczorek. Our taste for rarely seen works drew us to a play whose last documented professional performance in North America had been more than 40 years earlier. We also felt proud to present a smart new translation, which had already begun to reach a reading audience among aficionados of Greek drama but which had not yet been performed on a professional stage.

“This year, Natural Theatricals is continuing in the same vein. We inaugurate our second season of Greek theater with another rarely seen play, also in a new translation. While Euripides’ 'Ion' is perhaps marginally more frequently performed these days than 'The Women of Trachis,' we anticipate that only a small minority of our patrons will have seen it before.”

Brian Alprin also said, “We think the season has something for everybody — mystery, magic, intrigue, dramatic complexity and timeless plots.”

“We’re hoping to attract a wide population of people drawn to classics and Greek myth. We hope that modern audiences will identify with the characters. There are human conditions and characters that span the millennia,” said Paula Alprin.

TRANSLATOR Deborah H. Roberts writes in her Translator’s Notes: “... The story of Ion is a relatively late addition to the body of Greek myth and does not always include the divine parentage that is clearly a compliment to Athens. Euripides dramatizes and elaborates this complimentary version of the myth, but complicates our response both by playing parts of the story out in a comic register and by taking seriously, as the stuff of tragedy, the familiar mythic situation of the woman who bears a child to a god. He grants the solemnity of tragedy not so much to the divine all-knowing father (whose comic misjudgment of human behavior the play makes plain) as to the sorrowful short-sighted mother and son and their shared but competing experiences of irremediable loss — a loss that, in the play’s final comedic turn, is in fact remedied.”

As in last year, all of the shows will be held at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial and Paula Alprin said, “It really worked out. They are wonderful people and very supportive of what we do.”

Brian Alprin believes that the Masonic National Memorial deserves to be a regional cultural center, and said, “It is such a great showpiece, but it’s undiscovered and we want to help make it be better known.”

Brian Alprin said that success for them will be defined, if at the end of the season, people say they’re not like other theater groups and they have a clear theme, consistent approach and high–quality productions.