Athena

“Athena” at Theatre Horizon

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Kira Player stars in Gracie Gardner’s comedic play, “Athena” at Norristown’s Theatre Horizon.

When New Jersey/New York-to-Philly transplant Kira Player talks about her titular role as the determined saber rattler vying for a slot in the National Fencing Championships in “Athena”, written by Gracie Gardner, directed by Kathryn MacMillan and taking place, right now through June 5 at Norristown’s Theatre Horizon, she speaks of improvisation in deed, choreography and word. Because, smartly, as with any sport, nothing can be planned, save for the fact that someone will win and someone will lose.

Even in a comedy such as “Athena”.

Athena
Campbell O’Hare and Kira Player.

“Gardner’s dialogue, like Kathryn’s direction, had that improvisational edge,” says Player of an open-ended theater vibe that allows for real, raw interaction between friends-turned-opponents and opponents turned friends.

Called a “deadly serious comedy about ambition, success, and owning your superiority… with delicate ferocity,” by the New York Times, “Athena”, the play, portrays two 17-year-old-pals preparing for war and competition: the National Fencing Championships.

“Learning the terminology of fencing was like learning an entirely new language,” says Player, an actor who was (pardon the pun) thrust into the choreography and terminology of fencing from the audition forward through each fight-coordinated rehearsal.

Athena

Kudos to J. Alex Cordaro who serves as Theatre Horizon’s Fight Director, the person behind the elegant violence of parleys as quick-witted as Gardner’s sharp dialogue.

Notes Theatre Horizon Artistic Director Nell Bang-Jensen, “We’re proud to support the incredible artists who have been part of this project over the last several years, and I am certain our audiences are ready to enjoy Gracie Gardner’s ferocious and witty play.”

One more note here about fencing: a theatrical skill unto itself, your faithful dosage MAGAZINE author here long studied the art of fencing, first in college, then when living in New Hope briefly, then in attendance at a fencing salon across the street from the Community Education Center in West Philly. I might not recall each and every feint, fleche, flunge and lunge, but I still recall the feel of the foil, and the smell of determination.

En grade.

Athena

Images: John C. Hawthorne


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