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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

Corey Madden has been combing the beaches of Southern California talking to surfers for the last year.  She's talked to runaways living along Pacific Beach.  And she's spent a lot of time with professional surfers who have retired from the sport and now find themselves ostracized from the surfing community. 

Madden, the former associate artistic director at the Mark Taper Forum in LA for 15 years and now a visiting artist at UCSD, has also been thinking about Orpheus , the ancient myth of the Greek poet and rock star who could tame wild beasts with his lyre skills but who loses his love Eurydice to the underworld god Hades.  Madden combined her interest in surfing culture and the tale of Orpheus into a new musical called simply Surf Orpheus . It's currently being produced by the Theater and Dance Department at UCSD .  I recently went to a rehearsal of Surf Orpheus and took some photographs.

Performers from Surf Orpheus ride a wave

As you can see, it's a visually rich production with complicated moving set pieces and a big cast.  Madden partnered with noted choreographer Jaques Heim of Diavolo Dance company in LA and acclaimed composer Bruno Louchouarn to create the look and sonic world of Surf Orpheus .  A number of things stood out at rehearsal, not the least of which was the dedication of the undergraduate acting students, technical crew, and stage management team.  It's really quite amazing that UCSD supports a production of this scale at the undergraduate level. 

You can hear Corey Madden and Bruno Louchouarn talking about Surf Orpheus on These Days today .  The musical opens tonight, Tuesday, May 13th and runs May 17th.  Performances take place at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theater on the La Jolla Playhouse campus.

aaryn b.
May 14, 2008 at 05:27 AM
Incredible images and fantastic descriptions to go with them. What an elaborate set for such a short run. Looks very intriguing.

Box Office
May 14, 2008 at 08:32 PM
To buy tickets call (858) 534-4574. The box office is open Mon-Fri noon-6pm.

Brad from La Mesa
May 17, 2008 at 07:27 PM
I like Greek mythology, and surfing, but the combination of the two turns me off, it's hard to say why. Perhaps the pun name "Wade" as a surfer character has something to do with it. Maybe it's the comical image of three guys surfing the hell out of surfing a motionless wave. I do like the interpretation of the underworld being under water, but the surfer thing just seems like farce. All that said, it still might be a good show, if I could get out to such things with a toddler running our lives. Props to Orpheus for being goofy footed :)

Brad from La Mesa
May 17, 2008 at 07:31 PM
Also, Orpheus and the guy in the middle should pull out, the guy on the left is closest to where the wave is breaking and has the rights to that wave according to etiquette.

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