Tricia Stiller/Review: 'Minotaur' gets a contemporary reboot

Tricia Stiller/Review: 'Minotaur' gets a contemporary reboot

The fantastic, theatrical realm of Greek mythology is full of tales worthy of new exploration. The complex narratives that inspire more questions than answers are the key components in the artistic process.

How fitting to see "The Minotaur" get a contemporary reboot, courtesy of the lyrical pen of playwright Anna Ziegler.

The Minotaur, if you recall, is half man, half bull, the tortured progeny of a snow-white bull and Pasiphae, wife of King Minos, who had been put under a vengeful spell by Poseidon.

He was held prisoner in a Labyrinth under the palace of Minos until he was eventually slain by the hero Theseus.

In this ambitious retelling, the beast (S. Janjay Knowlden) visits with his naive half-sister Ariadne, (Sara Freedland), trying to impart in her some worldly wisdom about love and honor over a few rounds of "Connect Four."

She coyly confesses to her half-brother that she has fallen in love with Theseus (Patrick Weber), and he cautions her on setting into motion what would ultimately bring about his demise, and perhaps her own.

Ziegler uses a humorous Greek chorus to manage the extensive exposition, and their composition resembles the setup of an old comedy routine ... A priest and lawyer and rabbi walk into this maze ... .

Knowlden gives a powerful performance in his titular role. His commanding presence throughout was impressive and well-balanced.

Sara Freedland was charming as Ariadne, and Patrick Weber was amusing as the hero who in this case would seem more comfortable on a surfboard rather than in slaying beasts. The cast is completed by Maureen Sanderson as the Rabbi, Mark Tyler Miller as the Lawyer and Arymehr Mohseni as the Priest.

The production, directed by Tom Mitchell, is wonderfully enhanced by a simple, effective set by Emma St. John, who suggests Greek columns that are then beautifully employed by the dynamic lighting of Naomie S. Winch.

Tricia Stiller serves as director for the McLean County Diversity Project's Theatre Program, the Miller Park Summer Theatre Program and the Penguin Project McLean County. She can be contacted at triciastiller@msn.com.

If you go

What: "The Minotaur," by Anna Ziegler.
Where: The Studio Theatre at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 3 p.m. next Sunday.
Cost: General admission, $25; seniors, $24; students, $15.