The word “visceral” is often overused by critics in describing any work that has an immediate, almost physical impact on the audience, whether via physical events onstage or in the relentless passion of the author’s words. Polaroid Stories, a streetwise stew of classical mythology and urban tales, partly inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, promises to live up to its billing as Burbage Theatre Co. and director Kate Kataja take on the task through May 19.
The tales of Eurydice, Orpheus, Narcissus and many others are reimagined and paralleled in the daily struggles of runaway teens, abusers and abused alike. Confusion and transcendence is the order of the day as those on the edge of society deal with struggles mythic in scope and, yes, visceral in quality.
Playwright Naomi Iizuka’s abrasive, unapologetic poetry infuses itself into ancient legend in an effect both startling and enlightening, if not wholly original. This path has been tread before, but Polaroid Stories drags the concept into a landscape more accessible than loftier and grandiose attempts by Sarah Ruhl and, eventually, Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown. With shades of 1978’s Runaways, this darker look at life on the streets and the need for some way out promises far more depth. Epic in proportion, but ultimately personal, Polaroid Stories is worth a look in the coming month.
Burbage Theatre Co presents Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka, Apr 26 – May 19. 249 Roosevelt Ave., Pawtucket. Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. For tickets and more information, call 401-484-0355, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit bit.ly/2qvQf0e