Arts and Entertainment

It Was All a Myth

The Spectator reviews SophFrosh SING!.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Seek out Psyche, the Goddess of the Soul. If you find her, then all will be revealed…”

Dazzling goddesses. Ancient Greek pillars. Fluffy cumulus clouds. The gateway to

Mount Olympus opens before your eyes. Coordinated by sophomore Caroline Stansberry and produced by sophomores Eliza Oppenheimer and Eugene Park, and by freshpersons Salma Azim and Rayen Zhou, SophFrosh SING!’s Greek mythology-themed performance manifested a splendid combination of ancient Greek ideals with modern times. Despite having no prior experience with in-person SING!, SophFrosh delivered a surprisingly enjoyable performance through their enthusiasm and creativity. The show left the audience in awe as it brought to life the Greek mythology stories reminiscent of our childhoods.

A suave rendition of “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast floats into our ears as the show starts. While the curtains reveal an underwhelming set of props, the backdrop makes it clear that we are now in the world of Athens. Irene (Zoey Marcus), a mortal girl, wakes up without any recollection of her identity. She then abruptly embarks on a journey to find answers and discover her past. Irene delivers a lively solo of the song, delightfully surprising the audience with her vocals.

As Irene continues to wander around an unfamiliar environment, she coincidentally bumps into Olive (Adeline Sauberli), a hearty and flirtatious hamadryad. Fitted in a bulky green dress with brown accents and topped off with a leafy lei headpiece, her costume is a little tacky but deserves an A+ for the effort. After hearing Irene recount her dilemma, Olive enthusiastically suggests that they ask the Olympian gods for their help. We are then introduced to a place just outside Olympus, where the grandness is somewhat diminished by the lackluster set props but is saved by the actors’ energy.

With the Floating Palace of Mount Olympus in sight, Irene and Olive start their long trek toward it. A performance of “Loki” played by the band helps to transition between scenes and rouses anticipation among the audience. Even after an arduous journey walking through forests and villages, the pair encounter even more trouble when Mount Olympus guards prevent them from entering, demanding a completed Health Screening in an amusing manner. A procession of security guards clad in all-black clothing storm in and begin their step performance. The incredibly synchronized choreography highlights the underlying situation. Though the Step crew is relatively small, the fervor of their steps and handclaps in tandem with each other proves to be a stellar performance by the first dance crew of the show. As the guards leave, we are introduced to the gods and goddesses Athena (Chaniyah Brown), Aphrodite (Louise Wang), Hephaestus (River Soto), Artemis (Andrea Wang), Apollo (David Jiang), and Demeter (Vanessa Chan), each dressed in similar, rudimentary layered tunics of various muted colors.

The gods argue back and forth discordantly, disputing whether or not to allow Irene into their palace. Some of the conversations are incoherent and it becomes hard to distinguish exactly what is happening. Athena, given her wisdom, is stern in not letting Irene into the palace, given her mortal status, and Artemis and Aphrodite agree. However, Demeter and Hephaestus advocate for Irene. Hephaestus slyly justifies this by noting Irene’s potential for strategic defense, successfully persuading everyone to let Irene in. The character development for each god is more linear and they all seem very similar, even when their inherent abilities are supposed to be drastically different.

We are then abruptly introduced to Eros (Rachel Alvarez), Aphrodite’s son, who is bossed around dismissively by his mother. In a passionate performance, Eros emphasizes his role as the God of Love when Irene belittles him. Despite that, he still advises Olive and Irene to seek out Psyche, the Goddess of the Soul. The scene is short and sweet, segueing nicely into later scenes with Eros as he and Irene seem to be well acclimated to each other already.

We are then teleported to Athena’s library to ask her if she has any information about Psyche. The library is an obvious mess from a thunderstorm caused by Zeus and Poseidon, which feels like an irrelevant detail. In the background, a rather unadorned set of bookshelves and scattered books on the ground accentuate the disordered atmosphere. Irene also makes a witty reference, proposing that Junior SING!’s circus, which preceded SophFrosh SING! on the Thursday and Saturday shows, caused the mess, eliciting laughter from the audience. Athena’s calm poise, coupled with Irene and Olive’s kind mannerisms and willingness to help, create a camaraderie that allows the characters’ dynamic to flow well.

Irene has to fulfill her mission, though, so she eventually pesters Athena about Psyche's background and whereabouts. Athena reveals that Psyche was the most beautiful mortal she ever saw but suffered the fate of being fed to a monster. A lively performance to the prelude from “Carmen” by Georges Bizet by the Latin crew establishes the excitement leading up to the meeting with the nymphs.

After the promising scene at Mount Olympus, the characters enter an olive garden, where Olive and other nymphs reside. A wholesome little dance by Olive and a fellow nymph (Arshia Mazumder) to “The Family Madrigal” from Encanto is a clear highlight of the show. After this brief hiatus from their quest, Irene and Olive seek out Hephaestus for a lead on Psyche. We are then introduced to the smoldering hot workshop of Hephaestus, where for a moment we consider Hephaestus to be Psyche’s love interest. The impressive backdrop of realistic, moving furnaces with flickering flames helps bring this scene to life.

While Hephaestus reveals his strained relationship with Aphrodite, Apollo pops in and sings about Hephaestus’s relationship with Aphrodite, who despises him because he is not conventionally handsome. He laments that Aphrodite only values people based on their appearance, and only occasionally wisdom, to the tune of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. After a brief conversation with Hephaestus, the duo finds Aphrodite. A rather uncoordinated hip-hop performance accompanies Aphrodite’s appearance, perhaps hinting at her messed-up, arrogant character. The song “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons and JID is, nevertheless, appropriately chosen.

A beautifully crafted performance by the Modern crew redeems the dance performances, contrasting with Aphrodite’s harshness and uplifting the tense atmosphere. Dancing to the throwback song by Taylor Swift and Zayn, “I Don’t Want to Live Forever,” the delicate jumps and turns, coupled with the consistently solid performances of the band, set the stage for the climax of the show.

Irene has a mid-life crisis after Aphrodite’s revelation and is discouraged about pursuing Psyche. She realizes that she is actually Psyche, an idea that has been well-developed over the course of the show. Eros then reveals that he was Psyche’s lover and that Aphrodite was the one who wiped Irene’s memory out of jealousy and because of overprotectiveness for her son. Ending with a fascinating performance by Flow to the song “Immortals” by Fall Out Boys, Irene’s new acceptance of her identity gradually comes into focus.

Overall, SophFrosh SING! suffered from a variety of examples of inexperience, such as the set and shyness while dancing, but their collective efforts pulled through to create a cohesive performance in the end. The plot was well developed, though with an excessive amount of foreshadowing, and was supported by the chemistry between the cast and clear eagerness of the ensemble. Under this semblance of discord, the intricacies of love, forgiveness, and friendship prevailed and made for an entertaining show.