Metro Weekly

War Torn

An intriguing contemporary adaptation of Homer's poem, An Iliad is surprisingly compelling and occasionally stirring

An Iliad
To Jan. 13
Studio Theatre
$39 to $61

Here and there An Iliad overdoes it pandering to its audience – most egregiously by equating modern road rage with the quick-fire rage that fueled famous Greek quarrels. Can’t the average theatergoer be trusted to see the similarities on her own?

At other points, Studio and director David Muse assume maybe a tad too much. You can’t help but wonder, for instance, if a more truly theatrical production would make An Iliad that much more powerful. Luciana Stecconi on the set and Colin K. Bills on lights prove themselves evocative designers, and Landell proves herself a capable musician. But instead of stripped down staging and soundtracking, what if these three, as well as the others on the creative team, had been given more leeway to convey some actual sights and sounds of war?

In any case, you won’t leave An Iliad wishing for more violence and bloodshed. The play, as with Homer’s poem, is both comforting and discomfiting at the same time as it relays some universal truths about war and the human condition. We may be doomed to always rage and fight. But then what is it they say? The first step is admitting you have a problem. And plays like An Iliad can only help us see just how serious and extensive our problem is.

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.