Theater archives

Men Go Down (Part 3: Black Recollections) Offers You a Boring Nymph


Imagine being pregnant for a thousand years: the nausea, the cravings, the swollen feet. No wonder Dryope—an ill-fated nymph in John Jahnke’s Men Go Down (Part 3: Black Recollections)—resents her fiancé, the ancient Greek prince Endymion. He knocked her up circa 394 AD, then fell asleep for a millennium (according to the rules of mythic gynecology, she can’t give birth till he awakens). This Hotel Savant revamp stages their reckoning after his outrageously lengthy nap, as the goddess Diana and assorted legendary beings look on.

Disappointingly, Jahnke’s updated fable is all glossy tableaux and no narrative drive. Billed as the third installment in a time-traveling trilogy (though it’s the first to be produced), Black Recollections features lingerie-clad actors swishing around an opulent hotel room, more preoccupied with ordering room service than with Western civilization’s progress since classical Greece. Spouting pseudo-poetry, they muse about Endymion’s delinquency—pausing to gaze, wide-eyed, into space.

The real star is Peter Ksander’s lavish set, outfitted with silver paneling and screens displaying live footage and odd, ethereal compositions. Upstage, a gleaming bathtub hosts several (PG-looking) orgies.

But with the cast’s slinky posturing, the result is more like a Victoria’s Secret ad than an epic love story. It’s pretty, but after an hour of waiting for the drama to start, I could sympathize with Dryope: I felt like I’d been there for centuries.