Carol Katz has taken the Greek play format, the mythological tale of Daedalus the artisan and skillfully woven them into a beautiful tapestry of her personal journey. Daedalus’ Daughter, now running at the BootLeg Theater through September 30, is filled with superbly haunting images of truth and fiction, tragedy and survival. Tom E. Kelley has constructed wings, bones and a boat from stripped bare tree limbs and branches. There is a large black piece of material that artfully becomes an ocean and a threatening haze.

Kearian Gietz in Daedalus’ Daughter – Photo by Ammy Ontiverso

Within a one-hour production, the five characters in Daedalus’ Daughter take on several roles. Katz has created a play within a play within a play. She time shifts smoothly between ancient Greek mythology, the late 19th century and the present with three simple words, “Our story begins…”. As the narrative progresses, one realizes that those words represent another chance at life after each brush with accepting death’s invitation.

Carol Katz is a survivor. She has channeled her struggles with bipolar disorder and family secrets into her art. With Daedalus’ Daughter, she uses dance, music, visual aids and speech to face her demons. As the play concludes, one acquires a strong sense of the freedom that she has gained from this journey.

The set is beautiful and mysterious, evoking an eternal loneliness. The aged Daedalus (Kirk Wilson) is seated in a chair next to a slightly raked black platform with tall trunks of white poplar trees creating a dense forest at the back of the stage. The trunks have lights inside that give a sinister and menacing look, like candles inside a pumpkin at Halloween. A plain wooden picture frame becomes a portal for stepping through time. As Daedalus stands and drags a large wooden chair behind him, one feels the weight of his legacy.

Daedalus’ Daughter – Front Lavinia Findikoglu; L to R Clementine Gamson Levy, Sean Spann, Kearian Giertz- Photo by Tanya Orellana

In Katz’s version of the tale, Daedalus has both a son, Icarus, and a daughter. Icarus, performed strongly by Kearian Giertz, joins his sister, played by Lavinia Findikoglu, in two tender duets that bind them together in both love and tragedy. With the aid of wings made by his father, Icarus falls to his death after flying too close to the sun, and his sister wishes to use the one remaining wing to fly to freedom. Findikoglu portrays the sister as a frail, quiet but internally strong young woman.

Performers Sean Spann, Kirk Wilson and Clementine Gamson Levy act as narrators while taking on their different personas. Levy powerfully portrays the younger Carol Katz and Spann shifts effortlessly between being Katz’s father and grandfather. Wilson is wonderful as Daedalus. He manages to move gracefully between portraying the wise inventor, loving father and a troubled soul.

L to R: Kearian Giertz, Kirk Wilson, Clementine Gamson Levy, Lavinia Findikogly

Carol Katz has written and directed a powerful play. It is a play that will become even more solid with time and performance, and she has brought together a truly astonishing talented production team: Tanya Orellana’s scene design, Darius Gangei’s lighting, Simon Greenberg’s sound design that drifts amazingly between time periods, and Tom E. Kelley’s incredible props. Rosanna Gamson, Artistic Director of Rosanna Gamson/World Wide, is the Creative Producer and Dramaturge of Daedalus’ Daughter. Choreography by Lavinia Findikoglu and Kearian Giertz. One clearly feels her creative brilliance gently touching Katz’s shoulder to help guide her in the right direction. It is, however, Carol Katz’s bravery to lay out her story out through art before the world that is the driving force behind this wonderful production.

Daedalus’ Daughter runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through September 30th at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. I highly recommend that you see this production. For more information and tickets, click here.