REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Iliad

Adapted from Homer by Craig Wrightthe iliad by craig wright at a red orchid theatre

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.

the iliad by craig wright at a red orchid theatrethe iliad by craig wright at a red orchid theatre

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.

the iliad by craig wright at a red orchid theatre

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.

the iliad by craig wright at a red orchid theatre

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.

the iliad by craig wright at a red orchid theatre

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!


Tom Williams

At A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, Chicago, IL, call 3120943-8722,, 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

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