By MAC Hoover
A parable is a simple story that conveys a more profound, spiritual, or moral message. Beth Corning‘s the fisherman, the Butterfly, eve and her lover- A PARABLE tells the story of where we are, delivered pointedly, warts and garbage, sand, and solitude. As all good Corningworks do, it leaves one THINKING.
The theater is small; we are offered a drink of water in a small plastic cup as we enter. The entry is cluttered with empty water bottles and Amazon effluvium. The wheels began to turn immediately. This is deliberate, but WHY?. We see the back of a fisherman with his line in a bucket of water and a comely young man in a green space cluttered with boxes and trash. We wait.
What comes next is a puzzling delightful pantomime with poetry. The stories are disparate but as entwined as the limbs of the “couple” dressed in shades of green. The fisherman is a tragicomic Everyman who tells his “pet” fish and us a story. The sparseness of his domain is far from bleak, and there is no waste here.
The opposite side of the stage is green and fully equipped with boxes full of clothes that the beautiful people wear and discard. They are telling a story as well.
Out of the recyclable bin/cocoon emerges the Butterfly, who fusses and frets about the circumstances she finds herself in. She is dressed in cast-off trash, and she, too, is telling a story as she finds a ‘buried” head in the omnipresent sand.
There are subtle clues about what we’ve seen, heard, felt, and breathed. We realize what is missing as the dust flies up from the sand, and we watch, mesmerized as time passes. We watch the storytellers continue to challenge us with the intertwining of their characters and the visual and auditory prompts that lead us to our own conclusions.
The beauty of Corningworks is at its best with this “choose your own” interpretation of their Vision.
Corning’s Glue Factory Projects cast experienced talent that brings a mature perspective and depth to their character portrayals. the fisherman, butterfly, eve & her lover is no exception. From the compelling performance of Nathan Keepers as the solitary Fisherman and Beth Corning as the curious Butterfly who makes do with what she has to Jillian Hollis as Eve and Evan Fisk as her lover in a relationship of distanced intimacy in a society of disposable goods and love, this cast delivers a dystopic vision of our future—a future without water and human connection.
Beth Corning never fails to challenge and entertain us with her stylistic works of performance art. the fisherman, Butterfly, eve & her lover is exceptional, a more multimedia offering than expected, subtle soft, and fluid, while packing a dire enviromental prognostication in its entire beachy package.
Set Designed by Stephanie Mayer Staley, Lighting by Iain Court, Projection Design by Joe Spinogatti, with Concept and Choreography by Beth Corning.
Corningworks’ the fisherman, butterfly, eve & her lover- A PARABLE has perfoirmances now through 23rd at the intimately-sized Lillie Theatre in the City Theatre complex on the Southside. For more information and tickets, visit https://citytheatre.culturaldistrict.org/production/86718 Masks are required for all audience members.