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Sat 4/9: An Iliad

When: Saturday, April 9, 2022, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach

Cost: $49

Age limit: Not available

Description: <p>After The Poet left the stage at the end of the show, the fellow sitting next to me said, &ldquo;I can review that in just two words: holy shit.&rdquo; It worked on several levels. First, it seemed a natural response to the play&rsquo;s emotional wrecking-ball wallop, which is likely to leave the viewer banged up, bowled over, wrung out, and generally left open-mouthed but not terribly talkative. Second, it deftly caught at its masterful juxtaposition of glory and horror, divinity and filth. Third, this is a great production of an excellent play, featuring a towering solo performance. &ldquo;Holy shit&rdquo; is here high praise. Homer&rsquo;s<em> Iliad</em> tells the story of a battle between two superheroes, Achilles and Hector, in the midst of a war between two armies, the Greeks and the Trojans. It has endured for over 2700 years, which makes it a very famous book, but of course, it was never meant to be read. It&rsquo;s a poem, rendered in verse so that it might be recited &mdash; sung, even &mdash; by a poet before an audience. (The work&rsquo;s first words are the poet&rsquo;s prayer for aid in the daunting task: &ldquo;Sing, Muse! In what ill-fated hour sprung the fierce strife&hellip;&rdquo;) That poet is the tragic hero of Lisa Peterson and Dennis O&rsquo;Hare&rsquo;s <em>An Iliad</em> &mdash; tragic because, after so many centuries soaked in blood, he no longer wants to sing his song, but he cannot seem to help himself, any more than we can help ourselves. (We love this stuff, violence and rage and heartbreak and hate. Just look how the story has endured.) So he doffs his hat and coat, puts down his suitcase, calls upon a different spirit (Athena Tequila), and sets off on his mission, not just to let us hear, but to make us see. So yes, we get the Greek ships and the walls of Troy and Achilles and Hector and their beloved friends and family and the meddling gods in their midst, but what we really get is Richard Baird as The Poet, breaking open the story even as the story breaks his heart, drawing us in and dragging us out, making a world with his words and little else. (Though what help he has is expert, in the form of cellist Amanda Schaar, draped in shadow and making her instrument render whatever sound the story requires.) And even as he makes that world, he begs us to make it end. It plays through this weekend. Go see it if you can.</p>

Source: SD Reader

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