Heather McGuigan, Julia McLellan and company. Photo by Leslie Schachter

Mythic mixes grand deities and pop ditties

We spoke to the director and a Montreal cast member of the Segal Centre’s musical production.

Greek mythology and musical theatre unite in Mythic, a pop-rock retelling of the story of Persephone, Zeus, Demeter, Hades and Aphrodite amid rock stars, sketchy politicians and celebrity socialites. Written by Marcus Stevens and Oran Eldor, Mythic premiered a year ago in London and made its North American debut over the weekend at the Segal Centre.

Director Brian Hill, who’s been involved in musical theatre in Canada since the age of six (as an actor for many years before transitioning to writing and directing), sees the combination of ancient myth and contemporary culture as less of a creative or logistical challenge than an exhilarating narrative and aesthetic contrast. 

“It opens up a whole vocabulary because we’re telling this ancient Greek myth in a really fun way using pop music idioms and current comedic forms,” says Hill.

“Greek mythology was designed to explain things about life and nature and human behaviour so I find those stories really do apply to our contemporary time and things that we go through as human beings and young adults especially,” says Alexia Gourd, a Montreal singer, dancer and actress whose multiple roles in Mythic include being part of the Greek chorus.

Alexia Gourd on the Mythic stage. Photo by Leslie Schachter

“The Greek chorus is constantly present in all the scenes and supports the action on many different levels so we have to work as a group,” says Gourd. “I find our challenge is to be able to push the action forward as a unit while being an individual in the story.”

Speaking to Hill and Gourd the morning after the first performance of Mythic on Sunday, it was clear that they were as excited to see the production come to fruition as they were proud of the work of their team.

“They’re incredible,” says Hill of the cast. “They’re working their butts off every single day and the level of performance is beyond what I could have expected or dreamed of.”

“This is hands down one of the best casts I’ve ever had the chance to work with,” says Gourd, whose many English and French musical and film credits include Juste Pour Rire stage productions of Mary Poppins and Hairspray. “Everybody is ridiculously talented, so hard-working and humble. It really felt like a great collaboration. We started off working only as the (Greek chorus) ensemble together just to build up that chemistry in our numbers and when the leads came in they were just so kind. It’s a very ensemble-based type of show so we really work as a company. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with everybody. We’re very very lucky.” ■

Mythic is on at the Segal Centre’s Sylvan Adams Theatre (5170 Côte-Ste-Catherine) through Nov. 24, various times, $67/$64 seniors/$30 students & people under 30