Like `The Iliad`, `An Iliad` is a story about the glory and horror of war. Homer focused on the last few weeks of The Trojan War in his epic work, and director Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O`hare did the same in their theatrical adaptation. A major goal for them was to actively engage contemporary audiences with the work. So for three years, they met and read different parts of the text to one another before discussing and expressing the events in their own words. Over time, a script was formed that included parts in Latin, as well as the formal English translation of the poem, but also similes and metaphors that are very powerful, relatable and contemporary.
O`hare, as the duo explains in this interview, has developed a mechanism over the years to make the audience talk back to him. Performing in the US, they changed the section which lists the places from which soldiers were recruited to American states, and in Cairo they changed it again to the names of Egyptian towns. They wanted the audience to engage with the piece in a "visceral" way. And they have been very successful on that front.
Peterson and O`hare came to perform the show at Cairo`s Falaki Theater as part of the fourth Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF). Watch our interview with them and parts of the show.
This video was produced by Medrar.TV in partnership with D-CAF 2015.
[This video was produced by Medrar TV and is featured in partnership with Jadaliyya Culture]