A gripping take on Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s timely adaptation, complete with drones, trucks, campfires, and more..
About this project
In October of 2015, two small audiences gathered outdoors at the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery for an entirely new and unique staging of An Iliad–a contemporary adaptation of Homer’s classic by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare. The intimate, site-responsive production wowed its viewers and immediately drew interest from the arts community at large through word of mouth. This summer, the production will tour the Hamptons, Connecticut, and the Berkshires before returning to Jersey City, in an effort to engage as many audiences and communities as possible with An Iliad’s powerful story.
The piece relates the myth of the Trojan War right to the here and now. The Poet lists American towns when speaking to where each of the Greek soldiers were born, he alludes to 9/11 when describing Hecuba’s fear of Hector’s death, and he–in the most powerful moment of the show–lists every major war in our recorded history when trying to remember a single battle.The accessibility of this retelling of The Iliad is extraordinary, and along with a new, educational component of this tour, audiences of all ages will understand the urgency of the Poet’s warning.
WHO WE ARE
Brad Learmonth (Executive Producer) has had a distinguished and award-winning career as an arts professional for over three decades. In 2014, he was awarded the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming, from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. For 28 years, Brad called Harlem Stage his professional home, where he was at the forefront of developing a platform of support and presentation for visionary artists of color at all points in their careers. Such artists include Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Bill T. Jones, Nona Hendryx, Cassandra Wilson, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Stew and Heidi Rodewald. He has also created robust audience engagement and educational opportunities for the Harlem community and greater New York area.
James Blaszko (Director) directs and choreographs multidisciplinary productions that range from large-scale opera to site-specific solo performance. His professional directing debut, an original adaptation of Cyclops: A Satyr Play, premiered at the American Repertory Theatre’s Oberon, which DigBoston called “a shoe-in for Oberon’s raucous, challenging, crowd-pleasing programming” during its sold out run. James has assisted and supported productions with ArtsEmerson, Beth Morrison Projects, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Big Dance Theatre, Harlem Stage, Concrete Temple Theatre, and visual artist Jeff Stark.
Patrick Vincent Curran (Poet) is an actor on the rise, recently seen on FOX’s Gotham and FX Network’s Louie. He has performed in numerous classical plays and adaptations, such as A Streetcar Named Desire (Wax Wings Productions), Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged (Hub Theatre Company of Boston), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet (Brown Box Theatre Project). He received his training at Emerson College in Boston, MA.
WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT US?
We are dedicated to activating each of our tour stops in a way that not only expands upon the world of the play, but encourages a conversation in each community that will continue far beyond our performances. Our tour stop in Connecticut, for example, will include a two-day educational workshop for students at Education Without Walls on adapting classical text. Patrons to the performance, located on Avrill Farm, will also be able to support the orchard by purchasing local fruit and beverages. Supporting this tour will generate cultural engagement in communities along the East Coast.
HOW WILL YOUR SUPPORT HELP?
Your support will help develop the project for touring and subsidize the costs of each performance. Specific needs include:
- Three weeks of rehearsal in New York City
- Additional technical support for the drone used during the performance
- Truck rentals for each stop on our tour
- Fees and housing for six members of the touring team at each stop
This production is most effective when performed for a small audience. Your donation will fund multiple performances at each stop while keeping each evening as intimate as it was designed to be for the most arresting, memorable experience.
Risks and challenges
There has been an across-the-board excitement about the concept for this staging that makes it stand apart from the many productions of An Iliad that are being presented across the nation. A successful outcome of this tour will be interest in future performances, extending its life beyond one summer and building upon community engagement that makes this particular production vital.