Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Odyssey on stage

Last night we went to Theatre Antidote's premiere of their new production, 'The Odyssey', an adaptation for children and teenagers of the epic story by Homer. It's a new kind of venture for the group, and we weren't entirely sure what to expect. Since Dan worked for them last year and Richard (and the boys) spent several hours last week working on sound effects and lighting for them, we were given free tickets.

The play was mostly done in a form of mime - ideal for cross-cultural audiences - although there were a few words in Greek, and quite a bit of singing which, we gather, was in the original ancient Greek. There are just four actors working full-time in Antidote this year, so between them they took all the necessary parts with clever changes either on or off stage. As someone who has very little Greek, I would have been rather lost if I didn't know the approximate story (an outline can be found here, for anyone who doesn't). But apparently all children in Cyprus know the tale, almost like British children know about Robin Hood or King Arthur.

Dan went to one of the rehearsals during the week and took these photos:

These were the basic costumes - plain black and simple - and used for the sailors, when they weren't taking other parts.

This is how movement of the ship was portrayed, with a sail moved by two of the sailors showing the force of the wind.

I assume this was Poseidon, god of the sea, and one of the goddesses. I didn't follow the plot entirely! Every time the crew met someone, such as the Sirens or the Cyclops, one of the actors put on an extra costume behind the scenes. It all worked very smoothly.

Antidote aim to take their productions into the Greek schools, to children who have sometimes seen almost no live theatre before. I should think 'The Odyssey' will go down very well with the teachers, and probably the children too. It's not really for very little ones, but there were children of about eight and nine at the premiere who were transfixed.

The whole thing took just under an hour, and despite my lack of Greek was very enjoyable. There was almost continual music, written by a local composer, which was played by just two musicians: a violinist and an accordian player. There will be several more public performances before the end of the year in addition to those booked by schools.


Jan said...

That sounds really cool

Lora said...

'The Odyssey' in less then an hour! That's a feat in itself. Glad you enjoyed it. I always love the hun thinks they do for children's theatre.