2012/13 season > An Iliad
An ancient tale comes roaring back to life in a compelling new telling filled with contemporary wit and wisdom. The clash of swords and shields, the broken hearts and broken oaths, the bonds of friendship and family—An Iliad arises on a bare stage, told by an old man who’s seen too much. Obie Award-winner Lisa Peterson directs a stunning show that captures the grief and glory of the battle for Troy. Homer removes his armor on behalf of all humanity and reveals the truth within each of us. A hawk, a dove…An Iliad races through time to become breathtakingly relevant today.
Please note: An Iliad includes smoke effects. If you have questions about the show’s content, please contact the box office.
See a preview of Henry Woronicz’s stunning performance.
“Absolutely riveting…Henry Woronicz gives a tour de force performance as he holds the stage almost alone for 100 uninterrupted minutes. He embodies the Trojan War, from the horrors of hand-to-hand carnage to the serenity of a pastoral lull, his body seeming to swell into the great warrior Achilles or coil into a seductive Helen of Troy…He’s mesmerizing from the moment we first see him.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Mesmerizing…An Iliad is nothing less than breathtaking…Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s startling and visceral adaptation of Homer’s epic poem condenses the odyssey of the Trojan War into an explosive one-man show…Henry Woronicz, former head of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, delivers a spellbinding performance.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Devastating…An Iliad, the mesmerizing theater piece that opened Wednesday at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, manages to create the sights and sounds, the epic sweep and tragic immediacy of the Trojan War in the performance of a single actor…In rich language—and pointed asides—he makes us feel each clanging sword, each fatal wound, each cry of pain from the vanquished. Peterson stages the action brilliantly.”—San Francisco Examiner
“Riveting…As the Poet, Henry Woronicz summons the kind of performance you might wait a lifetime (or three) to see. For some 100 intermissionless minutes, he brings to vivid life the vast scale, the massive, terrifying clashes, of the war between the besieged city of Troy and the attacking Greek forces. At times he works the audience like a hard-bitten showman, cracking offhand jokes and telling anecdotes of his life on the road…Woronicz is affecting and astounding.”—San Diego Union Tribune
“Explosive, altogether breathtaking…Brilliantly meshes past and present calamity, with touches of the most caustic dark humor suddenly shifting into unimaginable pathos.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Spellbinding…Smartly conceived and impressively executed, An Iliad relates an age-old story that resonates with tragic meaning today…As he talks about ruined civilizations and how blind rage can overwhelm people whether they are on a battlefield or merely cut off by a car on the highway, the poet asks viewers, ‘Do you see?’ Indeed we do.”—New York Times
“Intimate, unstuffy, timely, accessible—while preserving a sense of timelessness, and grandeur [An Iliad] enthralls and pierces your heart with images of fallen warriors, bereft wives and parents, and the bitter landscape of a long, fruitless, uselessly barbaric war.”—Seattle Times
“Live theater still has the power to freak people out in violent, visceral ways…And if there’s any justice in the universe, An Iliad will tour to (and spook) audiences across the country for years to come.”—The Stranger
VIDEO: About An Iliad
Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare discuss their adaptation of An Iliad at McCarter Theatre Center in 2010.
PRINT: Interview with the director
The SF Chronicle’s Robert Hurwitt talks to Lisa Peterson about adapting an epic (and why she loves local audiences).
AUDIO: Insight from the ancients
Dramaturg Julie McCormick tells KPFA listeners what storytelling traditions tell us about human memory.