Directed by Steve Wilson
At A Red Orchid Theatre, Chicago
Moving anti-war saga deftly player by all female youth cast.
Give playwright Craig Wright, director Steve Wilson and fight choreographer Sarah Fornace credit for getting the 9-15 year old females mostly from A Red Orchid Youth Ensemble to not only understand but execute the saga of the Trojan Wars in Homer’s The Iliad – and they do it in a high energy 65 minutes.
Vengeance, loyalty, honor, huge male egos, bloody battles enacted using monologues, rhythms, songs with swordplay and doll puppets by the youthful girls becomes an entrancing theatrical spectacle.
While the cast’s energy, timing and elocution was excellent, their acting chops aptly depicted the males eccentricities, the jealousy and the violence used to rule and defend one’s honor in ancient Greece.
As Craig Wright put it: “Why do an all-girl The Iliad? It gives girls a chance to play roles they would never otherwise get to play…” To me, the girls add a mocking edge toward the themes of how futile war can be. There is plenty of blood and the fight scenes were nicely staged. These kids gave power to the lessons of the rage of Achilles (Jaiden Fallo-Sauter) battles with Hector (Aria Szalai-Raymond) before Achilles’ beloved companion Patroclus (Elenna Sindler) is wiped-out and before Hector’s young son ( Katie Jordan) begs his father to stay home.
I also was impressed with the work from Naywa Joy Brown (Agamemnon), Paola Lehman (Menelaus), Marissa Meo (Nestor), Isabella Mugliara (Pandarus), Melanie Neilan (King Priam), Madison Pullman (Odysseus), Nicole Rudakova (Paris), Kara Ryan (Calchas), Elenna Sindler (Patroclus) and Eden Strong (Ajax).
Theatrically, the girls nicely landed the fast-paced and complex script in a easy to follow and emotionally honest manner. The fight scenes were ambitious as were the cute scenes utilizing dolls as female figures of adoration. A nice touch.
This is an entertaining show that demonstrates the vigor and endless talents of these dedicated, hard-working young Thespians. The girls DID make the Trojan Wars come to life. Amazing!
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: November 15, 2010
For full show information, check out The Iliad page at Theatre In Chicago.
At A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, Chicago, IL, call 3120943-8722, www.aredorchidtheatre.org, tickets $25 – $30, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 65 minutes without an intermission, through January 2, 2011