Saturday, September 26, 2020

An Iliad at the Lantern Theater

Hellenic News
Hellenic News
The copyrights for these articles are owned by HNA. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HNA and its representatives.

Latest articles

Tinos Food Paths: preserving heritage

The whole idea behind Tinos Food Paths, Giorgos says, is “to keep the chain of knowledge alive from one generation to another.” Soft spoken, young...

Συμμετοχήτου Επιμελητηρίου Καβάλας στην 1st Virtual Hermes Expo στην Αμερική, 28 Σεπτεμβρίου 2020-1 Οκτωβρίου 2020

Το Επιμελητήριο Καβάλας, μέλος του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικτύου Στήριξης Μικρομεσαίων Επιχειρήσεων, EnterpriseEuropeNetwork, σας ενημερώνει ότι θα συμμετέχει στην 1st VirtualHermes Expo στην Αμερική, 28 Σεπτεμβρίου...

Senator Leonidas Raptakis: Consider Early Voting in Person

CONSIDER EARLY IN-PERSON VOTING AS SAFEST OPTION  Anyone who has spent the last few months working from home understands this pandemic creates logistical difficulties. From...

Secretary Pompeo’s Visit to Greece Timely, Demonstrates Importance of U.S.-Greece Strategic Partnership

American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ahead of his planned visit to Greece next week, which...

Το Βασικό Πιστοποιητικό Του Δήμου Για Την Κληρονομιά

Για την ολοκλήρωση της διαδικασίας της αποδοχής κληρονομίας, ώστε το σύνολο ή ποσοστό της κληρονομίας (ακίνητα, κινητά, υπόλοιπο τραπεζικών λογαριασμών κλπ.) να αποκτηθούν κατά...

Hermes Expo Announces Webinar Schedule for First-Ever Virtual Expo

The first-ever Virtual Hermes Expo is America’s most anticipated virtual vendor exhibition and webinar conference for Greek, Greek-American, and Philhellenic businesses and professionals. This...


Νέα Υόρκη – Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Ελπιδοφόρος συναντήθηκε σήμερα με τον Υπουργό Εξωτερικών των Η.Π.Α. Mike Pompeo, προκειμένου να συζητήσουν μία σειρά από σημαντικά...

By: Lili Bita, Cultural Correspondent

                Dear friends and readers, once again, greetings!  This month I bring you my impressions of a very unusual staging of Homer’s Iliad at Philadelphia’s Lantern Theater.  The Iliad is both the most famous and the most terrifying poem ever written.  When bards first sang it, nearly three thousand years ago, it could take days of recitation.  At the Lantern, it has been compressed into an hour and forty-five minutes of storytelling in the adaptation by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare.

                The grand theme of the Iliad is war:  our addiction to it, our fascination with it, and our horror at it.  These elements are inseparable.  War is fought for honor, for glory, and for profit.  What lies beneath it is bloodlust, our unquenchable thirst for killing.  We must imagine the Iliad as handed down from storyteller to storyteller, from village to village, from culture to culture.  It never failed to hold its audience, and it does not fail to now.

Thanks for reading Hellenic News of America

                The story is familiar:  the quest of Agamemnon to recover his brother’s captured bride, Helen of Troy, from her Trojan abductor, Paris, and the great war it produced.  Its hero is Achilles, the great hero of the Greeks, but the Trojan hero, Hector, is no less richly detailed, as is a gallery of other figures—wily Odysseus, faithful Patroclus, suffering Hecuba.  These characters are present in every war, down to those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria today.  So are the anonymous warriors slain, the helpless women raped, and the desperate refugees looking for the help and protection that never comes.  Listening to the great story told again, one wonders if the day will ever come when it will no longer be necessary to tell it.  But that day seems far off.

                There is a single speaking character in An Iliad, the Poet.  He presents himself as an eye-witness of the war, not Homer but the very first storyteller who sang the tale, exhausted by his nine long years on the shores of Ilium and all he has lived through.  He has not only imagined every trench, every field hospital, every grave; he has been in them.  And he has suffered every wound, died every death.

                The Lantern’s sparely set stage gave all the space necessary for us to accompany the Poet on his journey.  He is not alone; a silent female figure, the Muse, moves quietly on her own errand, playing various musical instruments, some improvised and weaving a pattern of fatality in counterpoint to the Poet’s own movements.  The result, in M. Craig Getting’s sensitive and inventive direction, is a kind of ballet in which two dancers never meet.  As the Poet, veteran actor Peter DeLaurier turns in a breathtaking performance, both nuanced and impassioned.  Liz Filios, the Muse, perfectly accents and accompanies it.  Scenic designer Meghan Jones, costume designer Natalia de la Torre, and lighting designer Shannon Zura all contributed to a moving and memorable evening.

                The authors of An Iliad began their work in adapting Homer for the stage shortly after the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003.  That war, still in progress, has now lasted longer than the original one at Troy.  It will someday end.  The question is whether war itself ever will.

                In this time of Thanksgiving, dear friends, I wish you all the joys of the holidays, and, for the world, peace.

Lili Bita

An Iliad.  At the Lantern Theater, St. Stephen’s Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets.

Through December 11, 2016.  215.829.0395;


The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.