Arts & Life

Greek drama updated with modern comedy

Sex, love and murder filled the hazy air during Cal State Long Beach’s Greek play, “Songs of the Siren: The Greeks Remixed” which was confusing at first, but left the audience laughing hysterically.

“Songs of the Siren” consists of a series of seven individual Greek myths that are remixed with a modern twist on issues such as loneliness, love, rivalry, anger and competition. CSULB theater students wrote each of the seven stories, and each story with own director, who are graduate students.

“The Torment of Io” is about how Zeus (Garrett Marchbank) secretly falls in love with Io (Eriko Azuma), without his wife, Hera (Rachel Zink), knowing it. They also had a choir beating on the drums in the background to create tension between the two. They looked mysterious in the fog, and in the myth, Zeus made the fog on purpose to hide Io from Hera.

Hera found out eventually and became very jealous of Io. Hera tortured Io, which was expressed through dancing. Hera danced with intense emotions of anger and revenge, while Io showed how she was being tortured by reacting to Hera’s movements. For example, Hera impersonated herself as a cow to spy on Io, and intentionally hit Io with her winds. Hera would violently hit Io with her powerful winds. She was able to manipulate Io’s body movements in any way she wanted. Io reacted by almost falling down at times, or putting her hands on her face to protect herself from pain. Io appeared like a rag doll being beaten by Hera. Io would shut her eyes tight when Hera hit her face with her winds.

Additionally, if Hera violently pulled Io towards to herself, Io would easily follow the direction of the pull, as if she was made of Jell-O. Her arms would flial at times. Hera kept a facial expression of anger, while Io had a facial expression of innocence. They both looked at and danced around Zeus during the whole time.

“Los Lobos De La Noche” describes how selfish King Lycaon is around his people, leaving them starving while he keeps all the wealth to himself. It was amusing when Luna/Lady Zeus (Susana Batres) showed up in Las Vegas-style clothes—with a sparkling purple hat and a matching vest and cell phone during the “Los Lobos De La Noche” story. Luna/Lady Zeus was trying so hard to get her sincere messages through King Lycaon’s (Aaron Orens) head of heavily greased hair. Luna/Lady Zeus tried to show how selfish he is, how barren his land is and how his people are very poor. She managed doing this by singing sarcastically through a microphone. This king did not care if his people were starving.

“People are hungry while you are feeding your fat feet!” Luna/Lady Zeus said.

Despite her efforts, King Lycaon didn’t listen.

“Persephone” explains why there are four seasons in a year. Hades tricked Persephone (Calli Dunaway) into eating a few pomegranate seeds, which sent her to the underworld for a year. During her absence, earth became barren and desolate —which became the fall and winter seasons. Persephone explained how she felt about seeing her enemy, Hades, year after year in a monologue. Her monologue expressed her reaction about Hades kidnapping her. Persephone shared how much she misses her mother when she is with Hades.

“Fugue #4” is about a love triangle between Zeus (Jared Crossman), Semele (Laura Price), a mortal and Hera (Rachel Link). Abaddon wore a long red robe, and nothing but a banner saying “CENSORED” under his robe. The audience fell down laughing. Hera was so angry at Zeus for impregnating Semele, and she convinced Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his true self as a god, knowing that this would kill Semele. Abaddon cried hysterically in a funny way, in grief about the deaths of his two friends. This scene made the audience laugh their heads off even though he was incredibly sad. It was just a hilarious sight.

Finally, “With Feathers” shows the love and hate relationship between a couple, who argued about who can open an unmarked box. Decker (Sam Floto) was touching by offering Paula (Calli Dunaway) the chance to open the box and see what is in it. Paula resisted, since she wanted Decker to have his chance. They went back and forth.

Overall, “Songs of the Siren” is worth coming to see. The theater students did a great job modernizing the storylines throughout the play, many of which had a theme focused on love. The underlying messages were shown in a unique way, but everyone can still relate.
“I think the students will find the show engaging, whether or not they have a working knowledge of Greek mythology,” theater arts graduate student David Vegh said.

“Songs of the Siren” will run in the Players Theater on campus on Tuesdays through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. until Dec. 5th. There will be no shows between Nov. 24 to Nov. 29th, in observance of Thanksgiving. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students with valid ID. Call 562 985-5526 or visit for tickets and information. 


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