Athena, the critically acclaimed comedy by Gracie Gardner, will be making a tour stop in Long Lake with performance at the Long Lake Town Hall, 1204 Main Street on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 7pm. Athena, directed by Pendragon’s Artistic Director, Kimberley Bouchard and featuring Rachel Kemp and Cammie Marshall, is a coming of age comedy about the rivalry and friendship of two teenage athletes. Mary Wallace and Athena are brave, and seventeen, and fencers, and training for the Junior Olympics. They practice together, they compete against each other, they spend their lives together and they wish they were friends.
First performed in 2018, Athena, is a New York Times Critic’s Pick: “A deadly serious comedy about ambition, success, and owning your superiority. In it’s delicate ferocity, it shows a playwright who is full throttle funny and wise beyond her years” The play is deemed “wily and entertaining.” by the Village Voice.
According to director Bouchard, she was first attracted to the play by the title, Athena. “Athena is one of the goddesses I have been fascinated by since I was a child. Born from the head of a male-god! The goddess of War and Wisdom and the Arts! Wow! What a super-woman!
After reading the play Athena I was enthralled by the story of these two young women athletes as they discover their power, their strength and their vulnerabilities. As a young woman growing up before Title IX, I was an athlete with few opportunities to engage in competitive sports. During high school, I took up fencing at the local college with a girlfriend who felt the same lack in her life. Fencing was our outlet for a yearning we had to be capable, strong and legitimately competitive. We loved it.”
Actors Rachel Kemp and Cammie Marshall play highly competitive teen fencers and have been training to fence for the roles with champion fencer, Viveka Fox. Fox is head coach of the Vermont Fencing Alliance, a former all-Ivy fencer and North Atlantic women’s foil champion and, in 2019, qualified to represent the US in age 50-60 womens foil at Veteran World Championships for the second time.
According to Kemp, who plays the title role in Athena, “Learning to fence has been so much fun and challenging. Working with Viveka Fox has been great. We’ve had a unique challenge in choreographing the fights because we’ve had to work backwards. We know who is supposed to score a point when, so it’s been a matter of silent communication to signal when that person is ready to hit, and when the other person is ready to be hit. As a dancer, I’ve appreciated that fencing takes quick footwork and a lot of lunging. Our thighs were sore for days!”
Athena is playing at the Long Lake Town Hall, Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 7pm. Tickets for the Long Lake performance are $8 and Long Lake Central School students are free. The Long Lake CTSO will be selling refreshments at intermission. Pre-sale tickets are available at the Long Lake Parks and Recreation Offices at 1130 Deerland Road, cash or check, payable to the Town of Long Lake.