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“Abyss” at The Larking House

An Edgy World Premiere Play Takes On The Classic Greek Myth of Prometheus

By Shannon Cudd

The cynics of the art world sometimes like to muse that the theatre is slowly dying. They clearly have not met the brave, young artists of The Larking House in Anaheim.

This group is dedicated to producing new and exciting works. The original incarnation of the theatre was established during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. They wanted to keep creating in a safe way, and Zoom allowed them to do so. When the world opened up again, the group rebranded and kept producing live theatre.

Lizzy McCabe, Executive Artistic Director, was one of the five founding members. “Our company primarily consists of theatre artists under the age of 30,” she explained. “We do not operate out of a traditional space (more of a found space, guerilla situation), and we are generally self-funded with the aid of some very generous members of our community. Since our conception, we have produced 10 in-person productions, 5 iterations of our Larking House Playwrights Intensives, and 1 feature-length film of an original script.”

Fifty percent of their productions have been new works. Their latest, “Abyss” by Jarid McCarthy, also falls into this category. It is an inventive reimagining of the classic Greek myth of Prometheus.

Prometheus was a Titan, a pre-Olympian god. He stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humans. As a punishment, he was chained to a rock, and an eagle ate his liver every day. This never killed him as his vital organ would regenerate, and the whole process would repeat in a never-ending cycle.

Gabbie G. as The Eagle

McCarthy was inspired to write this play after seeing a funny post about the myth on the internet. It got him and director Paige Taylor thinking about what the conversation between those two characters would be like. Jarid found “an allegory for interpersonal relationships” and “a dark workplace comedy.”

McCarthy workshopped “Abyss” in the Playwright Intensive. He is excited for the first full production and was even involved in the beginning of the rehearsal process. After kicking things off, he stepped back to giving Taylor freedom to interpret his words. He trusts her vision for his baby as the two have been friends since their Cal State Fullerton days.

It is both “exciting and intimidating” for Taylor to tackle this new work. She wants to do it justice. “This play is an observation of humanity through the lens of its creator. And his tormentor,” she explained. At its core, it is “a fight for a purposeful existence.”

The Larking House does not have a traditional theatre space yet. That is one of their goals according to McCabe. “Abyss” will take place in a garage, but this only adds to the ambience of the story. Neither the eagle or Prometheus are part of the human world. They are observers or possibly even voyeurs.

Taylor believes that Prometheus gave humanity fire because of a shared sense of fear. McCarthy believes he did it “to ensure humanity’s survival against the harshness of the world.” Both agree that fire symbolizes hope and power.

This play isn’t for young kids or those who may be squeamish about blood. The sound design is meant to be “visceral and almost overwhelming for the audience,” according to Taylor. The subject matter is introspective and dark at times.

Spike Pulice as Prometheus

That’s not to say it's all doom and gloom. Taylor hopes the audience walks away with a “sense of hope and self-reflection.” McCarthy wants people to “care for each other even if we feel doomed. It's vital. We have no other choice but to care for each other.”

When asked to compare this to something in pop culture, McCarthy chose Stephen King’s “Misery,” compared it to “Last Man Standing.” When asked to compare it to something in the theatre world, McCarthy landed on “The Caretaker” by Harold Pinter with the absurdity and quirkiness of a Samuel Beckett play.

Taylor believes this is just the beginning for McCarthy and you should get in on the ground level. “One should always go and support new works. Discover new playwrights,” she urges. “This is an incredible playwright who will absolutely be producing works in the future. So come and see Jarid's very first work and be able to say, I saw him when he was still young.”

Shannon Cudd is a writer, actor, and theatre lover in Orange County, California. 


The Larking House

May 29 - June 8, 2024

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