18:00 Thursday 09 January 2014

Epic tale will echo through the ages

Written byNIGEL POWLSON

N epic journey into the heroics of the Trojan War will be on offer at Derby Theatre in February.

For the venue’s third professional home-produced show under artistic director Sarah Brigham, one of literature’s oldest stories will be explored but it will be given a strong contemporary resonance.

Sarah, who directed Kes in the autumn will also take the helm of The Odyssey, adapted by award-winning playwright Mike Kenny from the original Homer.

Sarah told the Mail: “I am immersed in all things Greek at present.

“Mike has sent me the second version of the script and I’m really excited by it. It’s epic, entertaining, accessible, classic . . . all the things you want it to be.

“It terrifies me as well as I’m not sure just how we are going to do it yet.

“There’s a stage direction that says ‘at this point the cyclops bites off the head of one of the soldiers’. I thought ‘brilliant, that’s very helpful thanks Mike’.”

The Odyssey is an ambitious project for Derby Theatre but one that Sarah feels is perfect for the times.

“I chose it because as we move into 2014 we are thinking about the centenary of the start of the First World War.

“I wanted to think about what war means to us now and at the moment we fight our conflicts in far off lands and as a community we have little contact with what that means and then these soldiers come back to us broken and shell shocked.

“We have to think how we engage with that and what the consequences are both on the individuals who have experienced the combat and on their families.

“In this story, Odysseus has been away 20 years and has experienced the battle of Troy but why does it take him so long to come back? When he does, he finds everthing has changed and he has to try and put his life back together. I feel that resonates with what’s happening now and also with stories of First World War soldiers who came back shell shocked.

“It is epic, it’s a huge tale, very theatrical but also has this important resonance for today.”

The Odyssey can be seen at Derby Theatre from February 14 to March 1. To book go to www.derbytheatre.co.uk or call the box office 01332 593939.

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