On Memorial Day, war and the human condition. A raw one-man performance of the Iliad makes Homer’s war epic new.
“Sing, O muse, of the rage of Achilles,” begins the Iliad, Homer’s great epic of ancient war at the gates of Troy. And we are instantly swept away to a time of chariots and swords, spears and shields, gods and men and battle.
But there is nothing purely ancient about war, says my guest today, Denis O’Hare, actor and co-creator of a new Iliad for the stage. A one-man show that goes to the walls of Troy, then brings Homer forward, through centuries of war after war. Brings the Iliad right into our laps.
Up next On Point: an Iliad for our time, and the human rage for war.
— Tom Ashbrook
O’Hare performed four excerpts from “An Iliad” live during our show. Listen:
From Tom’s Reading List
The Boston Globe: A One-Man ‘Iliad’ Comes To ArtsEmerson — “When actor Denis O’Hare and director Lisa Peterson began developing their theatrical adaptation of Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ in 2005, the United States was embroiled in two simultaneous wars halfway around the world. Yet the duo never intended their update of Homer’s ancient epic poem, about the brutality of the Trojan War, to be an antiwar jeremiad. Indeed, the collaborators came to the project, ‘An Iliad,’ with differing passions and perspectives about the seemingly insatiable human thirst for violence and destruction.”
The Daily Beast: Denis O’Hare Talks About One-Man Show “An Iliad” — “Our original impulse was to write our version and then walk into a bar and see if we could get anyone to listen to us. Or stand under a bridge or in a coffee shop. Our narrator, the Poet, enters a room and starts talking. It can be any room. Think back to bardic tradition and storytelling tradition, and that’s all it ever it was. One-on-one entertainment.”