My family started out Fringe Festival yesterday by going to see the Impressionable Players take on Greek myth while being hosted at Studio Theatre, which was nice, because it meant air conditioning. From the very start, when the Chorus said “Sing, Muse,” and some horrible singing was promptly heard offstage, this play had two points, to completely subvert the original Pandora myth while making the audience laugh as often as possible, and they succeeded in both marvelously. Here Pandora, found on the beach with vague memories and brought to a nearby village, is a heroine, a good woman who may still be hilariously curious(if only because she knows quite literally nothing the world; she had to be shown even how to drink water), but wouldn’t dream of opening her box; it’s just everyone else who wants to. But long before it does get opened you know it can’t have the world’s evils in it, simply because the people of the village are displaying all of them already in reaction to her, much more like us than like Ancient Greeks(substitute “Jesus” for “Zeus” and the corrupt politician and evangelical priest are especially straight out of the modern world).
It plays like a black comedy until the box is opened, as which point the Chorus notes it should end darkly, but instead the play’s more serious themes come out(not without a few more funny one-liners though), calling out the original mythology for being too harsh on humanity and ultimately insisting we’re redeemable despite our evils. And the Chorus retires…well, I won’t give that joke away.