Tuesday, 9 April 2013
The Penelopiad -- Again!
I seem to have developed a thing for Margaret Atwood's play The Penelopiad, based on her novella of the same name. The Penelopiad re-tells the ancient Greek myth of Odysseus from the point of view of Penelope -- faithful wife, abandoned spouse, single mother, a girl and woman surviving in a man's world. The original myth may have been written by the great poet Homer, but now Penelope has been given the benefit of Margaret Atwood's feminist wit and insight!
I read the book shortly after it was published and enjoyed it tremendously. In 2010, My Rare One and I went to Calgary with friends to see the play's first Alberta production. (I blogged about it here, if you're curious). And just this past weekend, we saw a new production staged here in Edmonton by the Citadel Theatre.
As always, the play featured an all-female cast portraying Penelope and her many maids, who also filled the male roles as needed (Odysseus, Telemachus, the suitors, etc.). Beth Graham (pictured below) was perfect as Penelope, bringing the necessary mix of vulnerability and strength to the role.
In many ways, the Edmonton production had a much lighter touch than the Calgary version and I think it worked better for that reason. The simple set gleamed white and blue, the colours of the Mediterranean Greek islands. Creative costume and prop use was made of rigging ropes, scarves and veils.
The cast, who were all students at this year's Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program, brought youthful enthusiasm and talent to their roles. Lisa Norton (pictured below) did a great job of portraying the swagger, self-confidence and heroic mannerisms of Odysseus.
The Penelopiad is a wonderful play for and about women -- see it if you ever get the opportunity!
[Photo #1 from the Citadel Theatre website. Photos #2 and #3 by Epic Photography in the Edmonton Journal].