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  Play Details

An Iliad

The Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. NW Washington

First sung around a campfire 2,800 years ago, The Iliad remains a soaring ode about humanity's seemingly timeless attraction to violence and destruction. In this theatrical telling, a storyteller grapples with the mythology, brutality, and humanity of Homer's epic poem. An intimate and immediate look at rage, grief, and the heroism and horror of a seemingly endless war.

Thru - Jan 13, 2013



Price: $39 - $61

Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes with no intermission

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  Review Round-Up

Washington Post - Somewhat Recommended

"... Yet “An Iliad,” with its frank disinterest in the causes of given wars and its focus on pure rage —psychology, not politics —is far too vague to be a meaningful reply to current events, even though it sort of retains that impulse. Last spring O’Hare told the Daily Beast, “Lisa was looking for a way to reflect on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she felt contemporary playwrights weren’t responding.” The dilemma recalls lines penned by the ancient Jersey troubadour called Springsteen: “The poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all/They just stand back and let it all be.”"
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Nelson Pressley


Washington Examiner - Recommended

"... That production, intelligently directed by David Muse, follows Homer's view of the Trojan War, the 10-year-long battle between the Greeks and the Trojans that involved a pantheon of gods, goddesses, mythological figures and human heroes, while making that war relevant to today's world."
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Barbara Mackay


DCist - Recommended

"...One of the funniest asides is when the Storyteller imagines what Achilles and Hector’s conversation might be like if they just gave up this bloody fighting business and hashed things out at the nearest Trojan corner pub. Instead, precious lives are wasted."
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Alexis Victoria Hauk


MetroWeekly - Somewhat Recommended

"... At other points, Studio and director David Muse assume maybe a tad too much. You can't help but wonder, for instance, if a more truly theatrical production would make An Iliad that much more powerful. Luciana Stecconi on the set and Colin K. Bills on lights prove themselves evocative designers, and Landell proves herself a capable musician. But instead of stripped down staging and soundtracking, what if these three, as well as the others on the creative team, had been given more leeway to convey some actual sights and sounds of war?"

Doug Rule


City Paper - Recommended

"... I’m at a loss to diagnose why I experienced this piece, so cleverly adapted and performed with such consummate skill by Parkinson and Landell, at such a remove. Its didacticism seemed to blunt its potential to make me feel anything, and maybe that’s intentional: After all, Achilles’ bottomless anger is what perpetuates the death and suffering on both sides. Perhaps sweeping emotion itself—the main ingredient that separates storytelling from more efficient forms of persuasion—is suspect. This is a serious, honorable piece of theater made with evident care by talented artists. I’m just not sure it says anything that Edwin Starr’s “War” didn’t cover in 3 minutes, 25 seconds, with its naked appeal to emotions via a Homeric groove."
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Chris Klimek


Washingtonian - Recommended

"... What a difference an article makes in An Iliad,currently playing through January 13 at Studio Theatre. Adapted and loosely modernized from Homer’s The Iliad,the epic poem detailing a portion of the ten-year Trojan War, the titular “an” somehow makes the story seem mundane, placing it squat in the middle of all the countless other futile, bloodthirsty, completely wasteful conflicts that have gobbled up money and young men since the early days of civilization."
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Sophie Gilbert


DC Metro Theater Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Early in Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s An Iliad, the Minstrel/Poet says he hopes he never has to tell this story again, meaning, I suppose, he hopes audiences will finally outgrow battle lust and let him do some new material like “Song of Myself” or “Paradise Lost.” Later I think he hopes we’ll outgrow war itself, and thus release him from the fate of bearing witness through the ages. And by the end of the play I’m pretty sure the story harms him, diminishes him, takes another little piece of his heart every time. How much heart can he have left?"

Mark Dewey


BrightestYoungThings - Recommended

"... The language of An Iliad is somewhere between conversation and lyric poetry. There are moments where he speaks with a formalsing-song cadence, and otherswhere it’sasif he’s your bar buddy. The shift in tone is important since it iswhat gives O’Hare and Petersona chance to have major changes from the source material. Ina scene that would otherwise be too hokey,the storyteller interrupts himself so he canlist off every major war from Troy onward to Syria. The deliberate way he defineshistory isthe right set-up for An Iliad’s conclusion, however incomplete. Fed up, the storytellercannot bring himself to bring usthe gritty final details, and even though he explains himself, we canalready know why it’s too much."
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Afro - Recommended

These cold winter nights are made for storytelling, for gathering in warm places and listening fervently to oft-told tales. At Studio Theatre, we happily cede the floor to actor Scott Parkinson, who brings to fiery life Homer’s 2800-years-young epic poem in a new interpretation of “The Iliad” by director Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O’Hare. The adaptation, titled An Iliad, more precisely illuminates the ancient poem—and neatly excises the inventory lists of ships, soldiers and casualties—rather than trying to improve upon it.
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Jayne Blanchard


The Georgetowner - Recommended

"... Mostly, Parkinson is the teller of tales—sometimes funny, sometimes sage and sagacious, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes like a man carrying old wounds and memories. He tells the tale, but it become something more. It seems to involve everything from the Crusades, to the Persian wars, ancient and modern, to Vietnam, Afghanistan, all those forays by one group of nationals or alliances into the lands of another group of nationals and alliances, to come to grief, to cause great destruction and create new stories over and over again."
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Gary Tischler


MD Theatre Guide - Recommended

"...When the piece allows Parkinson to stay within the confines of his Homeresque persona, it works marvelously; when An Iliad pushes Parkinson into the more contemporary parlance of modern America, however, it veers into mundanity. Perhaps, Peterson and O’Hare injected the contemporary analogies into the tale because they thought average American theatre-goers needed a bridge between the pettiness of their own lives and the real horrors of war. Or perhaps they thought that Homer was too old school to work in our narcissistic “me” oriented culture. In any event, their addition of flippant banter into the tale only trivializes the subject Homer examines."
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Robert Michael Oliver



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