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Icarus flies high at Miracle Theatre

ICARUSMiracle TheatreThur. 7:30 p.m., Fri./Sat. 8 p.m.

Everyone, I’m sure, has a theory of why Icarus attempted to fly to the sun. Perhaps some Freudian idea of challenging his father���s authority? Perhaps to show off to his toga-clad friends? Or, as the story goes, to escape the labyrinth of the Minotaur.

Edwin Sanchez, author of ���Unmerciful Good Fortune���� and recipient of many playwrighting awards, presents Icarus, or in this case Primitivo, as a young man striving for the unattainable, the beguiling beauty of the sun.

Icarus concerns a small band of roaming misfits who break into a beach house to set up training camp for swimmer extraordinaire, Primitivo (Jim Garcia), who happens to be a paraplegic. Primitivo’s object of desire, as Icarus’ was, though he must swim rather than fly to the glorious, golden orbis, of course, the sun. Spurred on and supported by his sister, Altagarcia (Ina Strauss), who is marked ‘ugly’ by facial birthmarks, Primitivo strives twice daily with the impossible.

The deep-eyed Mr. Ellis (Paddrick Fitzgerald), who’s past is his ‘ugly’ mark, and his friend, Betty, are witnesses to Altagarcia and Primitivo’s odd, and yet very understandable, relationship of reliance.Their eclectic haven is almost immediately put into disarray by another misfit, Beau (Shuhe), who hides his supposedly hideous face behind a ski mask.

Nearby lives, as she says, “the Gloria. Small the Gloria” (Diane Englert), who is a waning starlet and earthly symbol of the celestial sun with reserved dignity. Her desire, and ultimate futility, in rekindling her past glory is a poignant reflection of Primitivo’s training.

So, as the story progresses beauty, and to a lesser extent truth, are presented as the enemy, but inexplicably the only goals worthy of human endeavor.

Inevitably, Beau and Altagarcia fall in love. And, as everyone knows, when love comes to town, nothing remains the same.

The production is a seamless amalgamation of sight and sound (Philip Glass��� ���Beauty and the Beast���� plays hypnotically in the background), which create a world of seductive subtlety.

Garcia, Strauss, Fitzgerald and Englert do admirable jobs with the quirky characters that inhabit Icarus. Garcia’s portrayal of the paraplegic Primitivo is convincing, entertaining and poignant. While Strauss, both in voice and character, commands the stage with surety. And Fitzgerald’s Mr. Ellis is the perfect insightful ‘fool’, who, like in so many of Shakespeare’s plays, seems to be the only one who really knows what’s going on. While Englert’s the Gloria is a fine combination of dignity and dissipating resolve.

The only weak link in the night, unfortunately, was Shuhe���s flat, rather monotone treatment of Beau. Which, when Beau finally makes his ���big confession,���� simply comes across as an awkward, stilted speech and the only juncture in an otherwise superlative script where the playwright actually seems to provide himself a soapbox to pontificate from.

On occasion, the stage limitations force the actors into odd corners and such, so attempt to sit in the center of the house for the best views.

This is an outstanding show and if ���Icarus���� is any indication of what the theater season holds for the Miracle Mainstage it should be a very, vibrant and exciting one.

Playing next at the Miracle Theatre is the Milagro Bailadores��� presentation ���Dia de los Muertos Festival���� Oct. 26 through Nov. 11.���Icarus���� plays Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Friday/ Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Oct. 13 at the Miracle Theatre, 525 S.E. Stark. For reservations and information about ���Icarus���� or any other shows call 503-236-7253.