A solo show that brings an epic poem into modern-day context is set to open the seventh season of Relative Theatrics.
“An Iliad” is scheduled to run at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5-7 and 11-14 and 3 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Gryphon Theater, 710 Garfield. Tickets are $12 in advance or $16 the day of the performance. For students and seniors, tickets are $10 in advance or $14 the day of. Seating occurs on the stage, and admission is limited to 50 seats per show.
The show is directed by Andrew Thornton and features Relative Theatrics founder Anne Mason as Poet.
Mason said the solo show takes audiences to the roots of storytelling and displays the power of a single voice to share an experience.
“There’s something quite magical about it,” she said.
She first encountered “An Iliad” during a staged reading last spring and decided it deserved a complete production.
“I’m excited to share the story with more people and start more conversations about the human experience, about how we cultivate and expel rage, what the roots of human conflict are, and how warfare has continued through the ages,” she said.
In its original telling, Homer’s “Iliad” is set during the Trojan War, a ten-year siege of the city of Troy. Specifically, the poem follows the conflict between King Agamemnon and the great fighter Achilles.
In “An Iliad,” written by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, Poet uses modern-day analogies to contextualize the conflict. Her goal is to “make the viewers see,” Mason said.
“Each individual actor that takes on this role — it’s up to them to formulate exactly what it is that Poet needs the audience to see,” she said.
Mason said she’s directed several solo shows before, but this is her first time participating as an actor. In addition to memorizing a show’s worth of lines, the actor needs to keep the audience engaged and develop full characters.
“It really is quite a challenge — a very exciting and terrifying challenge,” she said.
“An Iliad” also challenges Poet to understand the history of human conflict from ancient times to the present day.
“Poet has been around since fifth century BC and has lived through all of this,” she said.
Thornton, a theater student at the University of Wyoming, is making his directorial debut with Relative Theatrics.
The company’s seventh season, titled “Capturing Humanity,” is set to continue Nov. 7-16 with “The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence” by Madeleine George. “Really” by Jackie Sibblies Drury is scheduled for Jan. 30-Feb. 8, and “Two Degrees” by Tira Palmquist is set for April 16-25.
Each play looks at the ways humans try to capture, control or replicate life, Mason said.
“An Iliad” contains adult themes and language. All performances are followed by a chat with the actors and production team.