Southampton Cultural Center will present the premiere of a site-responsive staging of the spellbinding play, “An Iliad,” produced by award-winning New York producer Brad Learmonth. As staged by director James Blaszko, “An Iliad” unfolds in the unlikely yet poignant setting of a junkyard, in the waning light of day. An intimate audience of 30 gathers around a campfire to hear this breathtaking modern retelling of Homer’s classic, powerfully and singularly performed by Patrick Vincent Curran – reflecting the manner in which Homer himself may have told the tale.
When suddenly The Poet drives up in a pickup truck, the magic of the evening begins to unfold, with the help of muses, who appear in surprising ways. Audiences are drawn into the fateful clash between Achilles and Hector on the battlefields of the Trojan War by the unexpected use of the truck, a car and a drone, taking the story further out of the theater and grounding it in the here and now. A litany of wars and battles, past and present, land a visceral blow to the senses, which is done with deftness of humor, pathos, horror and humanity. When first presented as a work-in-progress at a historic veteran’s cemetery in Jersey City, last year, this production’s gripping storytelling and unfolding surprises left audience members speechless.
The play, which brings sharp focus to the price of war and our current world, was written over a 10-year period in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Written as a means to talk about our country at war it combines the epic tale of the Trojan War with poignant contemporary references in a tour-de-force solo performance by an actor playing a character simply called The Poet. The Poet’s fate, tied to ours, is summed up in one of his early lines: “Every time I sing this song, I hope it’s the last time.” It has won numerous awards, including an Obie Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, five Craig Noel Awards (San Diego), the Joseph Jefferson Award (Chicago), the Gregory Award (Seattle) and the Elliot Norton Award (Boston).
With very limited seating, this is going to be a ticket to grab early. Be among the first to witness a thrilling interpretation of this important work. “An Iliad” will be performed August 4 through August 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Reid Brothers Automotive Repair Junkyard, 1810 Sag Harbor Turnpike in Sag Harbor. Tickets are $40, and can be purchased at scc-arts.org or by calling (631) 287-4377.