THE DANCE OF DEATH: Ron Sossi Directs Conor McPherson's Visceral Version at Odyssey

THE DANCE OF DEATH: Ron Sossi Directs Conor McPherson's Visceral Version at OdysseyDeliciously dark, relentlessly brutal, fiercely funny. Lizzy Kimball, Darrell Larson and Jeff LeBeau form three points of a treacherous triangle in Conor McPherson's new version of The Dance of Death by August Strindberg. Ron Sossi directs for a Sept. 23 opening at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.

Celebrated Irish playwright McPherson (The Seafarer, Shining City) has streamlined Strindberg's ferocious black comedy, described by British theater critic Charles Spencer as "so shot through with cruel wit that the audience physically squirmed with a mixture of pleasure and dismay," and imbued it with a modern lyricism and sensibility.

On an isolated island, military captain Edgar and his wife Alice, a former actress, live a bitter life, their marriage soured by hatred. As their 25th anniversary approaches, the two face off in a fierce battle of wills. When Alice's cousin, Kurt arrives, he is quickly ensnared in the couple's wicked game.

According to Sossi, "This play is often considered a precursor to Albee's Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf and Sartre's No Exit. Three people trapped together in hell. It's claustrophobic and eerie and delightfully venomous."

"The wonderful, great contradiction in Strindberg is that he is almost equally serious and anarchic at the same time," said McPeherson in an interview. "[He] was keen to keep his drama unfolding in unpredictable ways."

McPherson's version of The Dance of Death premiered at Trafalgar Studios, London in 2012 in a production described as "flintily sharp, caustically comic" by UK arts portal Reviews Hub. "As the couple claw at each other, it's impossible to look away," wrote Time Out London.

The Odyssey's creative team includes set designer Christopher Scott Murillo, lighting designer Chu-Hsuan Chang; Sound Designer Christopher Moscatiello, costume designer Halei Parker and props designer Misty Carlisle. The assistant director is Nagham Wehbe. Ron Sossi produces in association with Isabel and Harvey Kibel for Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.

Performances of The Dance of Death take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Sept. 23 through Nov. 19. On Sunday, Sept. 24 only, the performance will be at 5 p.m. with no 2 p.m. matinee. Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesday, Oct.18; Thursday, Oct. 26; and Wednesday, Nov. 1, all at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 on Wednesdays and Thursdays; $30 on Fridays; and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays. There will be three "Tix for $10" performances on Friday, Sept. 29; Wednesday, Oct. 18; and Friday, Nov. 3. The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

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