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SBU Theater will stage a production of the award-winning play “An Iliad,” a 2012 adaptation of Homer’s epic tale of the Trojan War, Wednesday through Saturday, March 29 to April 1.
All shows are 7:30 p.m. in the Rigas Family Theater of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.
Originally produced at New York’s Theatre Workshop, Seattle Rep, and at the McCarter in New Jersey, and later all over the world, “An Iliad” won Obie, Lucille Lortel and Joe Jefferson awards. The New York Times called the original production “spellbinding,” and the Los Angeles production was hailed as “a victory for the theatrical imagination.”
The playwrights, Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, originally conceived “An Iliad” as a work for one actor, but left open the possibility for future productions using multiple actors.
“The play is a combination of actual lines from Homer’s ‘Iliad’ and a contemporary take on the story,” says SBU Theater Director Dr. Ed. Simone. “Peterson and O’Hare used Robert Fagles’ translation, which is in contemporary English, so the whole thing sounds very up to date, like a story from today’s news.”
The SBU Theater production features five actors, four of whom are theater majors or minors in SBU’s B.A. Theater program.
Featured are Kristen Caputo, Dakota Ward, Bryce Spadafora, Matthew Tyssee, and Betsy Vivar. All five actors appeared in SBU Theater’s recent production of “Hamlet,” so they’re used to taking on challenging roles.
Kristen Caputo, a senior, said the best part about acting in “An Iliad” is that all the actors have multiple roles to take on, requiring them to learn different techniques and styles.
“The production itself is awesome, and the work put in has definitely paid off,” she said.
SBU’s production of “An Iliad” uses no scenery, and the props are everyday items: boxes, trash cans, broom and mop handles.
“The use of the minimalist set is phenomenal,” said Tyssee, “and how we, as characters, interact with the environment is like nothing I've ever been in before!”
“The idea is that these itinerant poets, or actors, arrive at a place and use whatever they find to tell the story of Hector and Achilles and the Trojan War,” said SBU theater technical director Becky Misenheimer, associate professor. “However, once the Muses arrive, there’s some really intense lighting and music. Things get very theatrical.”
Misenheimer designed the lighting and costumes for the production, with the assistance of theater major Elizabeth Freeman. Simone collaborated with Dr. Les Sabina, head of SBU’s music program, to improvise and record a musical score for “An Iliad.”
“Elizabeth worked with Prof. Misenheimer to arrive at costumes that reflected the unique personality of each actor/poet,” Simone said. “And Dr. Sabina and I used a limited ensemble of live and synthesized instruments — flute, cello, violin, cymbals, bells and drums — to support the emotional elements in the show.”
Reserved seats for “An Iliad” are $8 for the public, and $6 for senior citizens, SBU employees, and students. Tickets are available at the Quick Center Box Office or by calling 716-375-2494.
Unsold seats are available as free student rush for students from any school, one hour before curtain in person at the box office with valid student ID.
“An Iliad” contains adult language and violence and may not be suitable for pre-teens.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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