AWHS drama elevates Homer from homework to a homemade masterpiece


Luca Roy

Nausicaa (Julia Conrad) and Alcinous (Sebastian Calderon-Jensen) moments before they first encounter Odysseus.

The Odyssey, an ancient Greek epic written by poet and philosopher Homer, has been translated over 60 times and adapted into 33 movies. Archie Williams Drama Department’s intermediate and advanced drama class performed a modern version of this famous work of literature. The Odyssey opened Nov. 16 with student-actors translating the ancient work of literature into an engaging and dynamic show.

Arete (Stella Vazquez) preparing for opening night of “The Odyssey” through a mirror backstage. (Luca Roy)

The Odyssey was originally written in the 8th century BCE, but was not popularized in Greek mythology for a few hundred years. A trendsetter in both depth and structure, the 380 page poem depicts the story of legendary Greek hero Odysseus, and his agonizingly drawn-out return from the Trojan War. Odysseus’s character teaches the ultimate lesson of patience as he struggles to return to his family because of his arrogance and frustrating idiocy.

Roy Quaas, Zeke Cuningham and Jaden Kelly fill the Little Theater with upbeat instrumentals before the play. (Luca Roy)

The Archie Williams Drama Department has meticulously rehearsed a concise three-hour saga to tell the tale of Odysseus. After six weeks of rehearsals, Mary Zimmerman’s dramatic adaptation of The Odyssey took place in the Archie Williams Little Theater Nov. 16-19. Directors Jasper Thelin and senior Stella Vasques have guided the class from casting to opening night.

Archie Williams’ Peregrine Players set the mood for the show with a hint of comedy as a modern human takes the stage and struggles to understand the chaotic English translations of the poem. While the complex nature of The Odyssey is celebrated in academia, this light-hearted and borderline campy production details a simplified tale for a broader audience. From sophomores chewing imaginary grass to instrumental Lady Gaga snippets, the show proves to be yet another high-quality production from Archie Williams Drama. 

Phemios (Ford Cocciolo) singing tales of the Trojan War to Penelope and her drunken suitors. (Luca Roy)

As Odysseus, played by senior Indigo Herrera-Meade, navigates shipwrecks, massacres and desertion, audiences can’t help but be engaged. Vocal sound effects, as well as dynamic lighting and handmade sets enhance the roles of  “drunk” soldiers, sheep, and victims of cannibalism. 

Hermes (Gabe Esser) pedals his golden “chariot” while fufilling his role as messenger of the gods. (Luca Roy)

The main cast, including sophomore Noble Peter-Frank as Telemachus, senior Julia Rudolph as Athena, and senior Ashleigh Farnsworth as Penelope, are incredible performers. They seamlessly portray their characters’ dreams, despairs, and delights. Their passionate acting throughout the play keeps audience members engaged, and cohesive costume design and realistic props enhance all aspects of the show.

The Odyssey was worth the three hour visit and the requested $5 donation for audience members is a fairly inexpensive guarantee for high-quality entertainment. The simplified story is suitable for any audience and the collaboration from cast and crew and engaging show engineering earn the show four and a half out of five feathers. 

Telemachus (Noble Peter-Frank) is graciously welcomed into Sparta by King Menelaus (Eli Wilson). (Luca Roy)