"Chapel Perilous" reviewed


Compelling ‘dream play’ at Cinnabar
Theatre Review by Chris Samson
Petaluma Argus-Courier, January 1983


“Chapel Perilous” a multimedia performance piece currently in the midst of a two-weekend run at Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater, is an unconventional and compelling theater experience. Playwright Antero Alli, a Petaluma resident who also co-directs and acts in this play, has subtitled it “Dreaming Phases for Lovers.” And viewing it is indeed much like experiencing a dream.

In a nutshell, this “new theater” presentation seems to be about two lost souls, Beatrice (Molly Dwyer) and Anton (Antero Alli) who are striving to become incarnate, while a Man (Marc Sabin) and a Woman (Leesann Modine) are undergoing the emotional upheaval of a new romance. While the vamp-like Beatrice and the soldier-mime Anton wander through eternity, the Man and the Woman struggle with their relationship. Elements of mime, dance, poetry and original music are woven into the performance, along with some memorable visual effects and several touches of humor.

The three supporting performers are Julian Simeon, as Ka, a soul-talking shaman priest; Diane Szczepanski, as Ba, a bird-like creature who does a stunning dance number; and Cedrus Monte as Hermes. Yona Flemming and Tom Sweeny provide “primitive rhythms” and percussion accompaniment; Sabin and Alli are co-directors and Cathleen O’Connell is credited as executive producer of this Theatre 23 production. “Chapel Perilous” is an experimental play, but it’s not a slapdash or haphazard work.

It’s an inspired theater piece that reflects careful preparation. The original script is intelligent and the performances are solid. This multimedia work presents a challenge to the audience because it is experienced on a different level than conventional drama. Yet it’s a play that should be accessible to most people; those who gamble on going to see it will likely find some worthwhile rewards in the performance.


Antero Alli bio