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Monday, 03 April 2006
The Odyssey

The Odyssey

This is the set of The Odyssey which the three meanies saw at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith on Saturday night.  It was the final performance.  The stage depicts a detention centre.  As David Farr, artistic director of the Lyric, says in his introduction to the programme

My adaptation of The Oddysey is about a General trying to get home. It is also about a group of people who have no home. Stu Barker and I wrote a song that acts as the main theme of the evening. The words go like this:
These eyes are not my eyes
This skin is not my skin
This pale breath is not my breath
Til I see my home again
Til I see my home again

In 750 BCE Homer put the touches to his epic poem called The Odysey, based upon an ancient story told by Greek bards before him. This play at the Lyric, set in the 21st Century, keeps the story fresh and vibrant.

Odysseus spends all the years of his wanderings entirely displaced, wracked with the anxiety that, like his unfortunate shipmates, he may never see his homeland again. Repeatedly he washes up on an alien shore, subject to the whims and protocols of strangers, to suffer humiliation or outright danger; repeatedly he has to think up a strategy for simple survival. He is the universal migrant, the refugee at every gate. Matters do not improve even when he arrives home; people who have been absent for long periods of time invariably discover on their return that their emotional and social place in the community has changed, or been appropriated by another. When Odysseus must assume the disguise of a vagrant beggar, he implicitly acknowledges the predicament of the outsider everywhere. It is not for nothing that the name that the ancients gave to the man they thought was the author of The Odyssey was ‘Homer’, Homeros - which means somebody displaced and vulnerable and not very different from a ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum-seeker’: an homeros in Greek is a ‘hostage’.

(from the programme notes, Who is Odysseus? by Edith Hall)

Posted by bigblue on 03/04/2006 at 10:36 PM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (4) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

Well.. This sort of makes me wonder what I am going to find when I return home this time.. I just don’t know what to expect.. Will my house be standing? Will a desk be there for me in the Office? Who will be there? But I do expect things will have changed.

But at least I have another ticket back - so the way for me to survive in this instance is just to walk away and leave it all behind again!

Posted by KateMarie  on  05/04/2006  at  02:43 AM

The Odyssey is of course, like many great works, more than a single story with only a few themes.  While Shakespeare has endured in part due to the neutrality of his writer’s point of view, a viewpoint that enables characters and plots to develop as unique instances, the epic poems treat the subject as an archetype of the audience.  I think this can create a problem with modern audiences because they tend to relate to architypes differently to how classical audiences would have.

Posted by flank  on  05/04/2006  at  12:47 PM

KateMarie, you may find that a cyclops (or two) has moved into your house while you were away.

flank, Edith Hall makes this point in the conclustion of her programme notes when she says:

The ancient Greek philosophers saw this epic tale as an allegory, with Odysseus representing the human soul’s own voyages through the journey of life. Early Christians saw Odysseus as the epitome of virtue, learning to resist the siren calls of temptation and fleshly pleasure as he sought out his true destination in heaven. Today we are more likely to interpret his journey as a psychological process whereby a human reaches self-knowledge and comes to accept the parameters - even limitations - of temporal experiences, physical space and interpersonal relationships that make each one of us who we really are. When Odysseus tells the Cyclops that he is Nobody, he could equally well have said Everybody.

Posted by bigblue  on  05/04/2006  at  09:31 PM

Well… eviction should be interesting then at least…

Posted by KateMarie  on  06/04/2006  at  02:35 AM

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