Author Archive for: ‘KedarAdour’

AN ILIAD brilliant at Berkeley Rep

(At Berkeley Rep, bassist Brian Ellingsen accompanies Henry Woronicz’s searing performance in a visceral new version of An Iliad. Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com)

AN ILIAD: Adapted from homer by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. Translation by Robert Fagles. Directed by Lisa Peterson. A co-production with La Jolla Playhouse. Berkeley Repertory Theatre (BerkeleyRep), Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St, Berkeley CA. 510-647-2949 or www.berkeleyrep.org.  October 12–November 18, 2012

AN ILIAD brilliant at Berkeley Rep

Is it possible for theater to exhilarate and depress simultaneously? It certainly can and the proof is on Berkeley Rep’s Thrust stage where Henry Woronicz as The Poet and Brian Ellingsen Bassist enthralled the full house eliciting a spontaneous well earned standing ovation. Using Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s resplendent adaptation, Homer is brought into the 21st century and this production of An Iliad should not be missed.

There are questions about the origin of The Iiad , if the Trojan War was fact or fancy and even if there really was an author named Homer. Never-the-less there is the fact the story exists and has been translated into many languages and has many parallels in today’s world. During the Vietnam War the chant of the protestors was, “Hell no, I won’t go!” During the time of the Trojan War it was Achilles, part god, part man and the greatest Greek fighter ever who picked up the chant raising a scepter high, crushing it the ground vowing not to fight. The gods took the blame for everything including the waging of war.

It all began when Trojan Paris stole the most beautiful girl in the world Helen, the wife of the Greek Menelaeus. That was a no-no and Agamemnon, the king of all Greece launched the “thousand ships” starting the siege of Troy.  The Trojan War lasted for 10 years but An Iiad details the action involving the battle of the Trojan Hector and Achilles and the involvement of a handful of germane characters. With Achilles on the side line the war is being won by Hector’s Trojans and the intervention of the gods is evoked on both sides. Achilles’ return to battle, specifically the duel with Hector and the final outcome is horrific.

Woronicz  has played the role of the poet in many productions across the U.S., handles the transition between each character with superb timing and inflection. He also manipulates the audience with asides that offer a touch of humor needed to relieve the intensity. The flashes of humor from the asides are supplemented with amusing depiction of Paris as a self-centered fop and Helen as bitchy slut. Could such a war be fought over two such insignificant people? Probably not but the legend persists.

Late in the evening the litany recitation of all the wars from farthest past to the present is shocking to the point of being depressing. He compares the young dead Greeks and Trojans with those who have died and are dying in the mid-east and around the world. This is further compounded by the chilling effect on the women and children of the combatants.  Consider the tragedy that there has not been a day of peace in the known history of the world.

Brian Ellingsen Bassist, is magnificent with the range of sounds he is able to extract from the Bass fiddle. It is absolutely astounding, adding depth and emotion to the spoken word.

After the limited run here to show moves on to the La Jolla Theatre. Running time is 90 minutes without intermission.

Three cheers to the production crew: Rachel Hauck, Scenic Design; Marina Draghici, Costume Design; Scott Zielinski, Lighting Design; Mark Bennett, Original Compositions / Sound Design; Bradley King, Associate Lighting Design; Chris Luessmann, Associate Sound Design; Shirley Fishman, Dramaturg; Telsey + Company, Casting; Kimberly Mark Webb, Stage Manager; Anthony J. Edwards, PhD, Classical Language Consultant.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldinternetmagazine.com.