Narcissus & Echo

mount olympus · Ages 13+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 19, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

While the entire cast is solid and entertaining, the Water Nymphs work together so well, you get the idea these ladies haven’t been apart in a very long time. Charlotte Williams’ dancing is sure to please, Shayna Jackson’s voice will mesmerize you, and Jenapher Zheng gives a wonderfully zany performance using her facial expressions perfectly…In fact, when Hera manipulates Zheng’s Grace into committing villainous acts, it’s almost heartbreaking to discover that playful and innocent face is capable of such antagonism. But it’s Jetta Juriansz’s Echo who steals the show with her incredible talent to play the ukulele, WHILE singing songs she wrote, WHILE acting, WHILE hitting her marks…why, even a few accidental bumps from other actors can’t throw her off… That, my friends, takes talent.

What I didn't like

Ben Horwitz’ Narcissus takes a little time to find himself… Is Narcissus a Special Needs child? It’s hard to tell, but once he sees his reflection, Horwitz makes him come alive, and is a pleasure to watch. And Juriansz’ Echo, as noted above, is stunning to watch… When the two come together, I found myself rooting for their love, and then my heart breaking for Echo… I’d love to see Juriansz stretch that heartache just a little further, as I was literally one echo away from shedding a tear for her. And in this guy’s opinion, comedy is easy, but to make me feel so deeply for a character that I actually shed tears? That’s talent. And Jetta, you have talent…just look inside yourself and release it.

My overall impression

Listen up, Hollywood, Writer/Director Elizabeth Lanier has something to say, and you need to hear it. In her 50-minute short, Narcissus & Echo, Lanier takes on global water shortages utilizing Greek Mythology and modern-day PR; but if you think you’re in for an evening of soap-box lectures, don’t worry, the preaching ends at the door. Instead, Lanier lets her playbill do the talking, and the stage do the entertaining…

Armed with nothing but a keyboard, a ukulele, and their voices, the cast of eleven work the small stage as a unit, driving a fast-paced musical comedy that keeps you entertained throughout. The story itself is simple enough: Zeus (Rishi Arya) and Hera (Alexa Giuffre), at ends as always, vie for the Water Nymphs talent to market their privately-owned water to the public, while young Narcissus (Ben Horwitz) seeks out the last remaining natural water spring, that he might provide free water to the masses. Along the way, Echo (Jetta Juriansz) meets Narcissus and the two fall in love… But not necessarily with each other…

…And there you have it. At the heart of it all, it’s a love story, and that’s the brilliance of Lanier: She entertains you with music and comedy and love, but never lets you forget the point: Water is a natural resource, a daily necessity of life, and no human on Earth should have to worry where his or her next glass should come from, or what’s in it.

Narcissus & Echo is wonderfully entertaining, and I’d love to see it again. But I can’t help but wonder what Lanier would do if given the chance to flesh her ideas out in not only time, but space. As a 50-minutue short on a small stage, it’s a treat to behold… But I’d love to see what Lanier could do on a larger scale. So listen up, Hollywood, Elizabeth Lanier has something to say… Let her say it, say it, say it, say it….

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