Tribune-Review – Quantum Theatre will kick off its 30th anniversary season with the contemporary treatment of an ancient Greek classic.
Outdoor performances of Jay Ball’s “An Odyssey,” based on Homer’s epic poem, “Odyssey,” are planned for Aug. 13-Sept. 5 at the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink in Oakland.
Directed by Jed Allen Harris, “An Odyssey” explores the modern definition of heroism by looking at the hero’s actions through the eyes of female characters who are incidental to the original story.
“’THE Odyssey’ is really told from Odysseus’ perspective. But in ‘AN Odyssey’ we’ve dropped an overlay, with Odysseus recounting his tales to young princess Nausicaa, and Jay Ball has given her a point of view,” said Karla Boos, Quantum founder and president. “This means he’s going to see what he’s done through her eyes (and the eyes of others along the way). And, hey — we already knew the guy was conflicted; otherwise, in the original, he wouldn’t be talking all the time about going home but never doing it.
“Even Homer has (Odysseus) uneasy with accepting the mantle of a hero, the hero’s welcome that’s supposedly awaiting him at home. Think of our own war heroes … it’s the same,” Boos said. “But we explore it further, and we’re actually gentle to Odysseus. He needs healing; ‘An Odyssey’ allows him to heal, after a stiff dose of truth.”
“(Ball’s work) is thoughtful about what this most ancient story has to say to 21st-century audiences,” she added. “But with Jay’s sly humor, it’s a production that we think will be enjoyable — for classics lovers and novices alike.”
Quantum’s mission is to stage eclectic, experimental works in uncommon settings that reflect Pittsburgh’s character, history and architecture. “An Odyssey” is the theater’s 11th collaboration with Citiparks.
The ice rink setting provides a facsimile of a Greek amphitheater.
“It’s a place of sport, like a Greek arena,” Boos said. “It’s shaped like a Greek arena, surrounded by nature and even has the incredible acoustic effect. It seems perfect to us.”
Narelle Sissons’ scenic design is an immersive installation employing dozens of sheets and thousands of feet of rope and yarn, largely donated by Quantum audience and community members…