Gustave Doré’s depiction of greedy sinners being punished Hell’s Fourth Circle. The Blacktip Island Community Players will stage all nine levels of Hell at nine different sites this weekend.
For its annual Dog Days Drama summer theater offering this year, the Blacktip Island Community Players will perform its take on 14th-Century Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s ‘Inferno,’ depicting the poet’s descent into Hell with the aid of Roman poet Virgil, in a progression of performances at multiple sites across the Caribbean island this weekend.
“It’ll be like a progressive dinner, but with acting instead of food,” BICP director Doris Blenny said. “We’ll start with Limbo at the Tail Spinner bar up at the north end, then work our way down the coast with performances at various resorts and whatnot, until the ninth and final stop at the Last Ballyhoo. Blacktip is in Circle Two or Three by nature, with all the lust and gluttony here, so the subject matter is quite apropos.
“Each stage will have Hell level-appropriate themes and drink specials,” Blenny said. “The Spinner, for example, will be made up like the ‘dark wood’ at the start of the poem. The audience enters through a faux-cave mouth, with ‘abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ inscribed above it. Even though that’s more accurately true of the Ballyhoo.”
BICP members say the sites for each performance were chosen carefully.
“There’s nine circles of Hell in the ‘Inferno,’ so we needed nine stops,” Payne Hanover said. “Most are at resorts and bars, but we had to improvise on a couple to get nine. There’ll be a couple of pop-up stages along the route. Like in the poem, each stop’ll represent a step in the voyage of the soul through the nether regions. Or some such.”
Announced stages and sin themes are:
- The Tail Spinner—First Circle/Limbo
- Diddley’s Landing—Second Circle/Lust
- Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort—Third Circle/Gluttony
- The Sand Spit bar— Fourth Circle/Greed
- Blacktip Haven—Fifth Circle/Wrath
- Club Scuba Doo—Sixth Circle/Heresy
- Eagle Ray Cove—Seventh Circle/Violence
- Undisclosed location—Eighth Circle/Fraud
- The Last Ballyhoo—Ninth Circle/Treachery
“All the performances’ll be after dark, of course,” Hanover said. “Actors and guests’ll car pool or bike from site to site. Drinking’ll be expected throughout the process, and we’re taking bets on how many people actually remember the last few stops the next day. That’s why we’re staging it twice, on Saturday and Sunday, so folks have the chance to see the parts they missed. Or forgot.”
The cast includes:
- Jessie Catahoula as Dante
- Marina DeLow as Virgil
- Payne Hanover as Charon
- Dermott Bottoms as Lucifer
- Lee Helm, Alison Diesel, Finn Kiick and Val Schrader as Assorted Sinners
Spectators are encouraged to wear Italian Renaissance apparel, or any Renaissance-inspired clothing. All are also encouraged to behave in a sinful manner, preferably in keeping whatever Circle they find themselves in. Proceeds from the performance will go to pay off Dermott Bottoms’ multiple bar tabs to safeguard the island’s economy.