Announcing a Ninth Play for Our 2018 Season
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced the addition of an exciting ninth play to its 2018 season. An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare will be performed from July 12 to August 22 and will feature Artistic Director Brian Vaughn as The Poet, the only character in this spellbinding play.
It will join the previously announced season of Henry VI Part One, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, Big River, The Foreigner, The Liar, and Pearl’s in the House.
“An Iliad is an exciting addition to the 2018 season,” said Frank Mack, executive producer. “This one-person show is a wonderful stage version of Homer’s classic tale, and it’s ideal for theatre goers who enjoy ancient stories told in inventive, theatrical ways.”
In this modern retelling, the Trojan War is over, and the Poet saw it all, including the unquenchable rage and endless battles, not just of this epic war, but of war through the ages. As he tells his tale in modern language, it at times threatens to overwhelm him; but he continues because he hopes, by shining a light on the history of man’s attraction to violence, destruction, and chaos, he can perhaps end it. “Every time I sing this song, I hope it’s the last time,” he says near the beginning of the play.
“For me, this will most likely be the most challenging thing I have ever done,” said Vaughn as he prepares for the role. “It’s a massive undertaking both in regard to the line load and the play’s overall emotional complexity. However, I am eager to dive into the work and hope Festival audiences will check it out. The story is worth retelling.”
An Iliad was originally developed as part of the New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspects Program, with its off-Broadway premiere produced by New York Theatre Workshop in 2012. It has since been produced a number of times around the country, but this will be the first production in the Intermountain West.
Reviewers have been effusive in their praise for An Iliad. Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune said “This is a formidably powerful piece of solo theater that evokes the rubble of history and of lessons mankind consistently fails to learn.”
Don Aucoin of the Boston Globe called it “a starkly powerful experience that leaves you with not just a sense of the horror and absurdity of war, but also . . . its inevitability.”
And, Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times concluded “An Iliad is unquestionably a victory of the theatrical imagination. . . . At the center of it all is one of the greatest stories ever told.”
“In a season that is filled with plays that examine marginalized individuals within our society, this play is an in depth look at the horrors of war and how the power of storytelling can capture the most epic tale in simple theatrical ways,” concluded Vaughn. “It blends both the classical with the contemporary and transports the epic poem into the hearts and minds of the viewer. I think our audiences are in for a real treat.”
Tickets are now on sale for the season, which will run from June 28 to October 13. For more information and tickets visit www.bard.org or call 1-800-PLAYTIX.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University, which also includes the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA).