DRESS OF FIRE is a fast-moving theater piece that walks two fascinating lines: It delves into the psyches of the major players of the Trojan War while delivering a subtle subtext regarding our own crumbling society. —
Review Fix: WHAT MAKES THIS PLAY DIFFERENT OR SPECIAL?
Nina Kethevan: Writing Dress of Fire I soon realized that I was writing the ancient story of The Iliad as pretext for telling the story that was unfolding around me and that continues to unfold around all of us. If this play had been produced twenty years ago it might have been seen as prescient but now with every day that passes it appears to resemble the world closing in on us.—.What makes it different and special is that despite its hard-hitting theme, it is an uplifting play thanks to the beautiful spirit of its characters who, even though their ship is sinking, leave us with their essence of greatness and beauty. As John Keats has told us: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
Review Fix: WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE PART OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS?
Nina Kethevan: What makes me most happy about being involved in this is the enthusiasm and the ease with which the actors, many of them very young, connect their humanity to the humanity of my characters. Twenty-five year old Alice Kremelberg (Cassandra) finds herself totally resonant with the following quote from American poet, Mary Oliver: “The subjects that stir the heart are not so many after all, and they do not change… Expect to feel intimate with the distant voice.” I believe actors are happy to be part of Dress of Fire because it gives them a chance to escape the poverty of imagination that is inflicted on us all by our consumerist, corporatist culture.
Review Fix: WHAT’S YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE?
Nina Kethevan: I studied with Lee Strasberg and many other fine teachers in New York City and appeared in several plays on the Paris stage. Both experiences helped me to enter more deeply into the inner lives of my characters—which I believe to be the reason the actors feel comfortable with the words I have given them. I chose as a frame story one for which there exists little historical documentation—making mine the words of Finley Hooper: “The poet is not after facts; he searches for the mystery of life. And he often finds it locked inside old stories, for they are the best stories and never really old at all.”