Wednesday 30 May 2012

Odyssey: Navigating Choppy Waters

Jennifer Cayley
This is a guest post by Jennifer Cayley, co-artistic director of The Odyssey show. She and Jan Andrews, the other co-artistic director, head up 2 women productions, and they put on awesome shows.  Jennifer is also a well-known Canadian storyteller, and she will be performing in the show.

It seems to me that putting the very divergent notions of blog ( short and now) and Homer’s Odyssey, (long and then), together make a pretty good image for this wondrous and intractable project. It has so many disparate strands. Strands that by June 16 will all be woven together for an exceptionally rich and VERY LONG performance.

So what are some of the disparities? There’s the hero Odysseus himself, so wise and strong and so full of human weakness. There’s the text, ancient Greek told in English; a poem offered in prose. Just bringing this very old work into the modern world is in itself a little contradictory. Sometimes it all seems to be happening so long ago and far away and then suddenly you recognize yourself in one of the characters or see the workings of modern world clearly in how everything is unfolding.

Then there’s the process of bringing the story to life. Sometimes it feels like a slog but suddenly the life of the piece shines through and you feel it in your bones. Then you know why you are doing this. There’s all the time to be spent on work shopping and rehearsing but there’s never enough time to really do all that you want to do. And most exciting of all, there are the eighteen tellers, each one with a particular style and a singular passion, eighteen individuals dedicated to telling just one story.

Being co-artistic director brings more strands to me woven together as Jan and I work out our different perspective on text and performance and even publicity, looking for the best way to support the tellers and make sure there is an audience there to savour and explore this grand story with us.

Help us bring Odysseus home!

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