Monday, 16 June 2014

The Iliad - Some Final Words

The Iliad took place on Saturday at the National Arts Centre. This one major epic took months of preparation and then took 18 tellers and 12 hours to tell.

I could say so much about the process and the story. I'm still working it all out myself. The characters who are both heroic and villainous, the lack of nameless deaths, the battlefield upon which the chariot wheels kicked up gore and dust.

I could talk about how touched and thrilled I was to see some SF folk from the area and afar come out to see this - there's so much parallel to the old epics with current SF works, and so very much to be appreciated. I could go on about that, easily.

I could talk about the heat of the spotlight and the anxiety that keeps gripping your stomach even after you're done your part, because you still have friends stepping on that stage, and the words might stop being winged.  You suspect not, but you still worry.  And you sit as you worry, and prepare to embrace any silence that might come from a teller having to find his or her words again.  Silences that thankfully never came.

I could write about the beauty of words slipping easily from your lips, following hours of rehearsing. Of emotions rolling over you as you step onto that battlefield and send friends to their death.  Of the strange elation of succeeding, and crushing sensation of knowing that it's over.  That something that's consumed so much of your life has stepped off stage.  

I could go on about any of that, but I won't.  Because all that's left to say about the Iliad is this: thank you.

Thank you to Homer for the story and the care for naming the dead. Thank you to Jan Andrews and Jennifer Cayley for tirelessly encouraging all of us to climb our hills while they climbed mountains before us.  Thank you to the performers for their spirit. Thank you to the audience for listening.  

Thank you, echoes of the past, for reminding us that we were, and are, all human, each with a story and a heart all our own.