In the Orpheus myth, Orpheus decides to take a long walk into Hades in an attempt to free his deceased wife, Eurydice, from Death's embrace. Through his lovely singing voice and beautiful lyre-playing, he succeeds. Death allows Orpheus to walk back out of Hades with Eurydice in tow, but there's a caveat: If Orpheus looks back, the deal is off. Orpheus does look back, and Eurydice remains behind. In Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending, young stud musician Val arrives in Williams' version of Hell: a small Southern town where everybody knows everybody else's business, and the people are strangled by the futility of their lives. Shopkeeper Lady Torrance, trapped in a loveless arranged marriage, sees Val as a way out. He's an escape not only from town, but also from her repressive and unfulfilling home life. But considering the inspiration for the play, the odds of that escape coming off without a hitch seem daunting, don't they? HotCity Theatre presents Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 7 p.m. Sunday (November 16 through December 2) at the ArtLoft Theatre (1529 Washington Avenue; 314-289-4063 or www.hotcitytheatre.org). Tickets are $15 to $20.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 16. Continues through Dec. 2