‘The Odyssey’ – from the director’s programme notes
“That’s a bit highbrow!” was the reaction from one HAMS member when we decided on “The Odyssey” for this year’s production. That would have been true had we attempted to perform Homer’s original poem. Not only that, but it would have taken around twenty hours or more to tell in its entirety! Homer is also credited with composing The Iliad which tells the story of The Trojan War, the ten year conflict between Greek forces and the city of Troy, the reason Odysseus was so far from home in the first place.
This adaptation of The Odyssey was written for and performed by three female actors who took on all twenty four roles, playing lovers, warriors, giants, old men, sheep and more. Quite an achievement. We have adapted the adaptation further to make it work for HAMS and have twenty four actors playing twenty four parts, which should make it simpler. We are still debating that one.
The Old Man of the Sea, our narrator, is a mythical creature who knows everything; the past, the present and the future. In this play he offers a version of the Classical Greek chorus, acting as the bridge between actor and audience.
The gods do not feature in this play. This is significant because the idea of gods controlling people’s destiny, or helping them out or punishing them is such a feature of Ancient Greek stories. But not this version. “Life has a habit of throwing obstacles in your path”, the Old Man of the Sea says – but this story is not the obstacles but how the characters cope with them and the choices they make.
So this is our very “non highbrow” offering; probably rather unexpected in places, but we hope it will entertain you…….and perhaps give you a new perspective on this ancient story.
Check out the review of the production: