• Amy Toledano

An Odyssey presented by state of the [art]

Image courtesy of Effie French

What is it?

A response to Homer’s Epic The Odyssey told by seven performers (Emily Linzey, Pedro Araujo Santos, Tânia Miranda de Carvalho, Ana Cardoso, Busra Okatan, Manuel Santos and Ruth Shmidt) who take contemporary view point on the text.

What is it about?

Where is home? Can you find a way to get us home? What is our journey? All these questions are explored during this play and are the constant theme of the story. In the original poem the protagonist Odysseus struggles to return home and spends ten years trying to get back to his kingdom Ithaca. Here, between games and endurance art the performers lead the audience to think and question the hero's journey, his challenges and mainly what it means upon our arrival at a place that we call "home".

How did it make me feel?

As the audience enters the space, the performers are already sweating, performing as if they are on a long journey. There is instantly an opportunity to get involved in the games, which is very enjoyable and the audience even go so far as to take sides and become competitive. This is a brilliant moment from the quartet of directors Munotida Chinyanga, Laura Singleton, Simone Giustinelli and Phoebe Shergold-Willis. With this, and many other elements, such as use of their own names and actual video calls with their real family, the cast blur the lines between what is real what is fiction. The simple but efficient scenery of plastic curtains are well used especially during the projection and effects scenes (like the water for instance), helps the audience to visualise what has been occurring onstage. Another interesting point to be highlighted is the fact that the performers have different origins, which is made clear from the beginning. The artists are diverse in their languages (used throughout) which pushes the idea that we share a singular home, all the while trying to find their way to their individual "homes". The question of whether they can live harmoniously is raised, and whether their distinct stories and experiences will still be valid.

Anything Else?

Where do we belong? The complexity of this question and being human, this is a story of fighting personal battles and punctuates that these truffles have happening since before Christ, through to the time of The Odyssey being originally written, and even now in the contemporary day and age.

Manu x

An Odyssey is playing at Ravensfield Theatre until the 19th October 2019.

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