Still suffering horrible flashbacks from reading Homer's "The Iliad" in school?
Well, Absolute Theatre has a possible antidote: a fast-paced, one-person show, which opens May 24.
“It’s a classic,” said Mark Hansen, who is directing the play. “It has the elements of conflict, folly, heroism, which unfortunately resonate as much today as they ever have.”
Still, there’s all that ... verse.
Not exactly, said Hansen. “It’s been rewritten in this very lean play, 100 minutes, one actor,” he said. “Most of the play is not verbatim from the poem.”
In “An Iliad,” the story of the Trojan War is told by a one actor – the only person on stage.
Larry Sinak, who was memorable as Richard Nixon in Absolute’s debut play, “Frost/Nixon” in 2016, takes the lone role in “An Iliad.”
“Larry and I have done shows together for 40 years, and I didn’t know that he had the range and depth as an actor that he now displays,” Hansen said. “The character is someone who has witnessed human conflict over the ages,” he said. “It’s his mission, his compulsion, to tell his story. To me, an experienced, older actor to portray this is most fitting. “
Hansen said directing a one-person play is a one-on-one challenge.
“It’s a very collaborative sort of process,” he said. “We start with the fundamental aspects: a story and a storyteller. The third ingredient is the audience.”
Sometimes, though, audiences can find it boring to watch one actor perform an entire play.
“That’s a risk,” Hansen said. “It’s my job to see that we introduce enough variety and elements of interest so that it doesn’t get monotonous.”
Since the play was rescheduled from last fall, there has been plenty of time to fine-tune it. One addition is a completely original music score by harpist Aynsley Scheffert, who will perform for each show.
Other than that, Hansen said, “After a year and a half of rehearsal, I can’t wait to get ‘An Iliad’ before an audience.”