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The Mythology Project: In The Beginnings

Ever since human beings developed written languages, they have been creating stories to help explain how existence began. Eight of these ancient tales, each heavily influenced by the culture from which they were born, have been gathered and creatively reworked by Annie Terry to form The Mythology Project: In the Beginnings. Presented in storytelling form by an ensemble of eight actors, these brief myths are as fascinating as they are funny, and they provide compelling insight into how people throughout history have shared the same wonderment about life.

Terry, who also directs, has discovered myths about creation from around the world, and she wisely has used a variety of genres in which to convey them. The first segment, reprised for the finale, is taken from a hymn contained in Hindu scriptures dating to around 2000 B.C. This contemplative text is presented almost like a dance, with the actors using movement to accent the story. It's a slow-paced opening, but the remaining tales are told with exuberance and originality. The Babylonian myth, loaded with monsters and fierce battles, is performed as an old-time radio show, complete with microphones and sound effects. The Chinese tale uses shadow images of the actors moving behind white sheets. The African story resembles beat poetry. And the Norse myth, the evening's high point, is a battle of the bands between corporate rock music creatures and a trio of grunge, rap, and techno music gods.

Though there are no standout performers, there are no weak links either. In the tradition of storytelling, each piece has a different narrator and different leads. It takes trust and teamwork for this style to be effective, and Terry's troupe is up to the task. They exude fun, and they connect wholly with the audience. This living anthology, which will appeal to teens and adults, is educational enough to be shown in high schools, yet its value as pure entertainment will be appreciated by discerning theatregoers.

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