The cast of <em>Beauty Bomb</em>
Paul Wellman

In the early creation stories, women tend to get a bad rap. It was Eve who precipitated the fall of humankind back in the Garden of Eden, or so the story goes, and, according to Greek mythology, Pandora was the culprit. The gods created her as a punishment to humankind, making her irresistibly beautiful and bestowing upon her many gifts, including a box she was told never to open. But Hera also gave Pandora the gift of curiosity. One day, when she was unable to resist temptation, Pandora peeked inside the forbidden box and unleashed upon the world a torrent of evils, as well as hope.

This weekend, the myth of Pandora gets a reinterpretation courtesy of Westmont College’s theater and dance departments. Theater instructor Lila Rose Kaplan leads an all-female cast in Beauty Bomb, a modern version of the Pandora myth in which Hera is a fashion designer, everyone communicates via cell phone, and Hope takes the form of a UPS delivery woman. “Our adaptation takes the elements of the original story and turns it into something more fun, contemporary, and woman-centered,” Kaplan explained.

Playwright Diana Small is a 2009 Westmont graduate, while the director’s sister, Jenny April, serves as choreographer. With four actresses and seven dancers, the production represents a rare collaboration between departments. “It’s a great opportunity,” Kaplan said. “It’s unusual to let theater and dance make something together. We’ve all helped each other look at the piece from more than one angle.”

In terms of the movement, expect to see the influence of everything from ballet to hip-hop, as each dancer lends her distinct training background to the production. Add to that original sound design and some high-fashion costumes, and Beauty Bomb looks set to be unlike anything you’ve seen before. “It’s been a really good challenge for us,” Kaplan said. “I think we’ve created a fun piece people will enjoy.”

Westmont College students will perform Beauty Bomb at the campus’s Porter Theatre from Thursday, November 19, through Saturday, November 21. All shows start at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 565-7040 or visit


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