WSU Performing Arts

Humanitas ~ A Festival Celebrating World Arts

He's been telling the story of war for thousands of years. Every time he tells the story, he hopes it's the last time.

by Lisa Peterson & Denis O'Hare
based on Homer's The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
7:30 p.m. @ Wadleigh Theatre, Daggy Hall

Saturday, September 24, 2016
2:00 p.m. @ Wadleigh Theatre, Daggy Hall


Presented by WSU Performing Arts

Directed by Benjamin Gonzales, An Iliad is a modern-day retelling of Homer's classic. The ancient tale of the Trojan War and the modern world collide in this epic, sometimes funny, and moving theatrical experience.

The setting is simple: the empty theater. The time is now: the present moment. The lone figure on stage is The Poet, a storyteller, fated to tell this story of war throughout history.

Moscow Art Theatre (Too) founder David Harlan plays the poet, a bone-tired, dilapidated man, perhaps a soldier, who appears on stage to tell the story of the Trojan war—and through that story, all of humanity's wars. It's a story he's been telling for thousands of years.

As the story unfolds, Harlan also embodies soldiers: Achilles, Hector, and Agamemnon; gods: Athena, Hermes, and Thetis; and even the face that launched a thousand ships, Helen.

"What struck me when I first read the script is how clearly it exposes humanity's addiction to war," Harlan said. "Early in the show, The Poet says, 'Every time I sing this song, I hope it's the last time.' I found that I have a deep connection with that feeling. The poet is tired of war and the rage that causes it, and he decides that today is the day he has to convince this audience—this sample of humanity—how useless and wasteful war and rage really are."

Praise for An Iliad

"Spellbinding . . . An Iliad relates an age-old story that resonates with tragic meaning today . . . As he talks about ruined civilizations and how blind rage can overwhelm people whether they are on a battlefield or merely cut off by a car on the highway, the poet asks viewers, 'Do you see?' Indeed we do."
New York Times

"Brilliantly meshes past and present calamity, with touches of the most caustic dark humor suddenly shifting into unimaginable pathos."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Intimate, unstuffy, timely, accessible—while preserving a sense of timelessness, and grandeur, [An Iliad] enthralls and pierces your heart with images of fallen warriors, bereft wives and parents, and the bitter landscape of a long, fruitless, uselessly barbaric war."
Seattle Times

"A brilliant and thrilling adaptation."
Philadelphia Inquirer

An Iliad is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.


2016 Highlights

All Week

International Education Week

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Prima Trio
7:30 p.m. @ UI's Administration Auditorium

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Sketch Wednesday: Ildikó Kalapács
12:00 p.m. @ CUB Gallery

IEW Keynote Address: Ildikó Kalapács
5:00 p.m. @ CUB Auditorium

An Iliad
7:30 p.m. @ Wadleigh Theatre

Thursday, Sept. 22

Roja Kannan: Search for the Blue Lotus
7:00 p.m. @ CUB Auditorium

Nuthouse Improv Comedy
8:00 p.m. @ Wadleigh Theatre

Friday, Sept. 23

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater
7:30 p.m. @ Jones Theatre

Friday, Sept. 23 – Sunday, Sept. 25

Arts & Culture Film Festival
CUB Auditorium

Saturday, Sept. 24

Capoeira Dance Workshop 10:00 a.m. @ Smith Gym 115

Hip-Hop Dance Workshop 12:00 p.m. @ Smith Gym 115

Party & Art in the Park
12:00–6:00 p.m. @ Reaney Park

An Iliad
2:00 p.m. @ Wadleigh Theatre

Villalobos Brothers
7:30 p.m. @ Jones Theatre

View full festival schedule »
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