By Sara Dudley Brown, Theatre Editor
This is a story about five friends, four of whom attended Georgetown Day High School, and a fifth who went to St. Albans. After becoming successful in their chosen fields, they are getting together to put on a show. And not just any show, this is going to be a one-man retelling/adaptation of Homer’s “The Iliad,” considered by many to be the greatest war story ever told. Tony Award-nominated producer and “An Iliad’s” director, Conor Bagley; Shakespeare Theatre 2017-18 Artistic Fellow and this show’s producer, Susannah Clark; New York-based set designer, Daniel Prosky; classically trained and New York-based actor, Iason Togias; and local actress and producer, Annie Ottati–these are the five area high school friends (now all grown up) who will bring “An Iliad” to us. “An Iliad” opens on May 31 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in DC and runs through June 9.
Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare wrote “An Iliad” and it is described as a deeply moving and surprisingly funny adaptation. The lone Poet (Iason Togias, who also happens to be of Greek descent) will perform the story to the live music of his Muse, Matt Chilton, a New York-based multi-instrumentalist and composer. They intend to pay homage to how Homer himself once sang the song of Troy.
Susannah Clark posits, “While epic in scope, ‘An Iliad’ tells the deeply personal story of Achilles and Hector, of families, lovers and inseparable friends, and the tragic, yet enthralling nature of war. But most of all, it is about rage: the way it warps us, the lengths we go to satiate it, and our struggle to control it.”
“I’m delighted to bring this beautiful play to my hometown,” relates Director Conor Bagley. “We envision our Poet having told the tale of ‘The Iliad’ throughout history, but now he’s living among millennials. He’s done his research. He’s walked around in our shoes. He’s felt our rage. Now it’s our turn to watch how he conveys this powerful, ancient story to a new generation.”
“When it comes to war, millennials occupy an unusual moment in American history,” says Togias. “While we’re inundated with images and reports of bloodshed, we have less direct experience of war than most generations before us. With this production, we wanted to explore how the story of ‘The Iliad’ still speaks to us as profoundly as ever, despite our relative distance from the horrors it depicts. I’m honored to be making my DC debut in a play so close to my heart.”
I, for one, can’t wait to see this production and I hope you will want to join me!
Ticket and Performance Information:
“An Iliad” at Atlas Performing Arts Center, May 31-June 9, 1331 H St NE, runs approximately 90 minutes. Ticket range: $15-25.