Sophocles and beyond
What: Summer Rep
Where: Maritime Heritage Park, Sylvia Center
WHEN: June 20-Aug. 31
Cost: Outdoor plays are free; indoor plays are $9-$25
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
iDiOM Theater isn’t known for its restraint. Not long after wrapping up its regular season with a mainstage production of Sarah Ruhl’s genre- and gender-bending play Orlando at the Sylvia Center for the Arts, the most prolific theater company around announced its Summer Rep lineup.
They deemed it an “ambitious mini-season,” but that’s a bit of an understatement. Typically, the creative collective has gone above and beyond when it comes to entertaining and enlightening the masses. Five plays based on the mythology of ancient Greece are set to begin Thurs., June 20, and will continue through late August at two venues—outdoors at the amphitheater at Maritime Heritage Park, and just up the hill at the Sylvia Center.
Artistic director Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao’s original play Briseis kicks off the season with al fresco performances at the park. First mounted in 2012, the quirky black comedy telling the story of the last days of the Trojan War through the eyes of a captive war bride will be revived, and you’ll want to be front and center when it happens. And since no tickets are required, all audiences need to do is to show up and sit tight.
You’ll want to make reservations for the next production on the roster, a contemporary adaptation of Sophocles’ Ajax debuting Thurs., June 27 at the center’s Lucas Hicks Theater. Playwright Bryan Doerries wrote it in 2015 as a contemporary take on war and the consequences of the choices made because of it, and director Shu-Ling Hergenhahn-Zhao will bring to life the Trojan War-based tale of a great warrior who has been driven mad at the hands of his enemies. It’s a powerful story that will be told with the inclusion of a male chorus and live musical accompaniment by Bellingham-based drummer Bill Anker. Tickets to the opening night reception are $20-$25, and will celebrate the entire summer season with preshow champagne and post-show refreshments.
Lighter fare will come next in the form of The Birds, which tells the story of two wandering Athenians who are searching for a better life in the kingdom of the birds. The comedy will be performed starting July 18 by teens who have signed up for a youth acting program, and will take place at the park.
Going Greek means The Odyssey will also make an appearance starting Aug. 1, when the retelling of Homer’s story of the final homecoming of Odysseus to Ithica and to his wife takes the stage at the Sylvia Center for three weekends of shows.
Shortly thereafter, An Iliad will end the season back where it began—under the stars at Maritime Heritage Park, and looking back at the events that started it all. The epic tale focusing on warriors Achilles and Hector that was first told by Homer has been reworked by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, and those who are eager to see the remount of iDiOM’s 2017 production will want to put it on their summer schedules.
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