Dance-Performance

The Road to Hades

When: Aug. 10-Sept. 11 2011

Despite his rather sizable writing portfolio, long-time circus performer Jeff Raz is a better entertainer than he is a playwright. His gags and antics are largely what carry The Road to Hades, which he framed as both an anti-war protest play and a modern spin on Greek myth. Produced by Shotgun Players and directed by Raz's longtime friend, Sabrina Klein, it stars Raz as Aristophanes, the classical dramatist whose oeuvre includes The Birds, Peace, and Lysistrata. He's been dead -- and apparently trapped in Hades -- for more than 2,000 years, which was just long enough to form his own independent theater company. And now he's searching for a ticket out, namely, by persuading Zeus that he can fill the open position for "God of Peace," on Mount Olympus, because artists promote peace by nature. Several talented actors serve as comic foils: Mime Troupe regular Velina Brown plays Aphrodite; Ryan O'Donnell is the shepherd god Hermes, and an intergenerational ensemble trails Raz at all times. John Mercer, who plays the war god Ares, is the real star of the play. Through Sept. 11 at John Hinkel Park (Southampton Ave. between San Diego Rd. & Somerset Pl., Berkeley). $10. ShotgunPlayers.org

Rachel Swan

Price: $11 suggested donation

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