My mom once told me that-time-of-the-month rendered a woman helpless to her emotions but that every day of the month, men were at the mercy of their competitive rage. She believes that’s why we have wars. I’d suggest that we broaden that idea to explain boxing, video games and Viagra.
Court Theatre presents a regional premiere adaption, AN ILIAD. The Trojan war was fought in nine long years. Timothy Edward Kane tells the war story in a tight, gripping one hundred minutes. In a one man show, Kane personifies all the Greek mythology principals: Achilles, Patroclus, Hector, Andromache, Helen of Troy, Paris, Priam, and Hermes. What ignites and fuels this epic war? The short version is the King of Troy’s son kidnaps the King of Sparta’s wife, Helen of Troy. The more complicated battle saga backstory is that gods and mortals shouldn’t mix. Because the gods play favorites, some humans have the advantage in the game of life. Aphrodite made Helen beautiful. Hephaestus made Achilles‘ armor. Hermes made Priam safe in enemy territory. Apollo made arrows with plague and poison. When the gods play war, humans suffer. AN ILIAD is a masterful epic on man’s battle to be immortal.
Playwrights Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson have adapted the legendary “Iliad.” O’Hare and Peterson mingle written and spoken ancient language with modern day grocery line descriptions. The that-was-then and this-is-still-how-it-is revelation is gut-punching. At one point, a long, long, long list of wars is recited. The passage is poignant and disgusting. How has the human civilization survived itself? O’Hare and Peterson scripted a compelling one-man narration. Under the skillful direction of Charles Newell, Timothy Edward Kane translates the myth to man. Kane is superb! He shows a broad range of emotions in recounting the casualties of war. He is lovingly tender portraying a snippet of Hector and Andromache’s marriage. Kane smoothly emotes both wife and husband in conversation. Later as Achille, he rants with a barbaric fury. In one unshakeable visual, an inconsolable Kane is screaming without any sound. The unforgettable image is my own personal war scar from this show. Kane’s intensity is woven through in otherwise matter-of-fact and often times very humorous recollection. Kane engages with his personable storytelling ability.
Although Kane hints that war stories are best shared in bars, this tale is recounted on a spectacular set by Todd Rosenthal. Following O’Hare and Peterson’s lead, Rosenthal blurs old world and contemporary. The locale could be be pyramid-style ruins or underground sewer. Sand and water add to the timeless placement. Lighting Designer Keith Parham and Sound Designer Andre Pluess insert their own intriguing glow and echo. Timothy Edward Kane climbs onto a very impressive set and owns it. Very early in the show, Kane asks, ‘how do you know if you have won?’ Simply put, Mr. Kane, you are a winner!
Exclaiming her three words right after the standing ovation, M-Vo describes it with ‘monologue done right!’
Running Time: One hundred minutes with no intermission
At Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue
Based on Robert Fagle’s translation of Homer’s “Iliad”
Adapted by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson
Directed by Charles Newell
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 3pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 2:30pm and 7:30pm
Thru December 11th
Buy Tickets at www.courttheatre.org