DREAMS OF ICARUSCreated, written, and choreographed by Becca Johnson-Spinos, Logan Beutel and Dylan Weand
Outcry Theatre Company
Directed by Becca Johnson-Spinos
Costume Design – Dylan Weand and Becca Johnson-Spinos
Wings and Minotaur Design – Gabrielle Grafrath of GiGi’s Workshop
Lighting Design – Jason Johnson-Spinos
Sound Design – Becca and Jason Johnson-Spinos
Dylan Weand – Icarus
Logan Beutel – Daedalus
Reviewed Performance: 12/21/2019
Reviewed by Chris Hauge, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
For those of us who remember the Greek myths we read in school, Daedalus is an inventor who devises a diabolical labyrinth to entrap the Minotaur, a blood-thirsty creature terrorizing the population of Crete, which is under the rule of King Minos. After the construction of the maze, King Minos will not allow Daedalus, who alone possesses the secret of its passages, to leave the Kingdom. In order to escape, Daedalus fashions wings of string and wax for his son Icarus and himself. The two successfully fly off, but during the flight, Icarus flies too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt. The feathers fall away and Icarus plummets into the sea and drowns.
Creators, writers and choreographers Dylan Weand, Logan Beutel and Becca Johnson-Spinos altered the story and instead of being father and son, Daedalus and Icarus are brothers. They have been imprisoned in a high tower by King Minos for their knowledge of the labyrinth. The two brothers built the maze and are the only two people to escape from it without a map. Daedalus spends his time creating inventions for King Minos to keep the two of them alive and Icarus is desperately trying to write the story of their lives in a way so that all that has happened to them makes sense to him. And the two young men find ample time to bicker and blame each other for their predicament.
The telling of this story is the reason to see this show. It is an explosion of talent and energy and conviction. The entire floor of the Stone Cottage performance space is taped out as the labyrinth that Daedalus built, and it is the platform for two strong actors who, with dance and raw ability and will, commit completely to the telling of the story. Like the maze on the floor that Mr. Weand and Mr. Beutel find their way through the story with grace and power. The lives of Icarus and Daedalus revealed by the two actors are as puzzling and complex as the labyrinth. For two plus hours we watch these young men wrestle with the jealousy, anger, despair and all the other feelings that flash between Icarus and Daedalus. Within the close quarters of the Stone Cottage, being near so much energy bursting in front of you can be exhausting as an audience member, but it is always fascinating to watch.
Along with the aforementioned labyrinth on the floor, there are two tables and two chairs. These simple elements are used to carry us through the brothers’ past and present. With the use of choreographed sections and light changes (designed by Jason Johnson-Spinos) times passes, or the two men are running through the maze try to escape the Minotaur, or we are shown Icarus and Daedalus as boys, two orphans in Athens with the world ahead of them with all of its splendor and dread. The choreography (Kudos to the creators of the piece) and its sharp execution are major part of why this production works.
Becca Johnson-Spinos has directed the proceedings crisply and the two actors have great chemistry together. Their line deliveries are quick and precise. Both director and actors have a great deal of material to present and I think the show could have benefitted from some editing. By the end of the play it seemed as if there were a problem ending the work. It felt as if too many things were trying to be resolved. With a piece such as this, where the director and the actors are all part of the creative process, there might have been the desire to keep each collaborators’ ideas in the script. Some pruning and condensing might make the play sharper and even more powerful than it already is.
Logan Beutel creates a brooding and petulant Daedalus. As the older brother of and, after the death of their parents, sole provider for Icarus, Daedalus resents his brother. Mr. Beutel shows the rage that constantly smolders under the character’s surface. He moves with grace and, sometimes, that undercuts the menace he is trying to physically portray. He also relies on shouting through much of the play and an exploration of different levels of vocal expression could prove helpful both in future productions of this work and in his career. There is no denying the talent that Mr. Beutel possesses. It will be interesting see his progress as he continues performing in the area. He is a freshman at SMU, so I expect we’ll have many opportunities to watch him grow.
The dreamer and storyteller Icarus is winningly played by Dylan Weand. It is a sincere and committed performance. His Icarus wants to embrace the stars and Mr. Weand’s voice and body show us the character’s longing and frustration. He’s always struggling with the story of his life, trying to make sense of his situation, and fighting with his feelings of love and anger towards his older brother. Mr. Weand wins the audience over, and though we know how the story will end, we exult with Icarus as he dons wings and soars ecstatically through the heavens. He has strong control of his facial expressions and of the extensive choreography in the piece. Mr. Weand is another actor I am looking forward to seeing in the future.
Special mention goes to Gabriella Grafrath of GiGi’s Workshop for the wonderful Minotaur mask and for the lovely wings. The Minotaur was appropriately menacing, and the wings were beautifully ethereal and beautifully complemented the flying choreography near the end of the play.
I will admit that the play felt a little long to me. But as I was walking out of the theater, I noticed one member of the audience weeping, having been affected by the power of the show. That says more about the quality of the work than anything I can write. Outcry Theatre has produced a show capable of touching hearts while showing the talent of three creators and two actors to the fullest. That alone make it worth seeing. Please check it out.
December 20 – 29, 2019
Friday & Saturday – 7:30PM
Saturday & Sunday – 2:00PM
Addison Theatre Centre
15650 Addison Rd.
Addison, TX 75001
For tickets and more information call 972-836-7206
Or visit on the Web at www.outcrytheatre.com/dreams-of-icarus