UH Production of 'Ilium' Offers New Spin on Classic War Tale

Adaptation of Homer’s Play Is Centerpiece of Center for Creative Work’s 2013 ‘Dionysia’

Homer captured the horrors of war in the classic “The Illiad.” Now, the University of Houston’s Center for Creative Work (CCW) delivers a new spin on the age-old tale of death, duty and suffering.

“Ilium” is a contemporary adaptation of Homer’s work and will be presented as the centerpiece of Dionysia 2013, CCW’s annual celebration of Greek drama. “Ilium” will be performed April 27 – May 5 on campus and in the community. All performances begin at 8 p.m. Shows are free, and reservations can be made at the Dionysia website. Dates and locations are as follows:

  • April 27, 28 – UH Rockwell Pavilion (second floor of M.D. Anderson Library)
  • May 2, 3 – Frenetic Theater (5102 Navigation Blvd.)
  • May 4 – G Gallery (301 E. 11th St.)
  • May 5 – Khon’s (2808 Milam St.)

The work is directed by Jen Sommers, adjunct faculty member at UH’s School of Theatre & Dance. It will feature poems and narratives written by Honors College faculty and students, as well as an original score by Honors College student Alyssa Weathersby.

The poems and narratives will reflect different eras of war, but will connect the story and move it forward, said John Harvey, director of the Center for Creative Work.

Harvey will contribute poetry that balances childhood experiences in Troy with those in Syrian refugee camps. Honors College dean William Monroe shares a narrative about his stepfather, a pilot during World War II and the Korean War. Honors College visiting scholar and peace activist M.J. Faber also contributes to “Ilium” with a narrative detailing his experiences as a child during World War II.

“Content will be organized during the play’s three acts,” Harvey said. “They will be in conversation with each other. We’ll also have some odes from Carl von Clausewitz’s book ‘On War.’ The idea is that these odes and poems will be spoken, chanted and sung by the play’s chorus and punctuated by ritualistic choreography.”

Other Dionysia events include the Ekphrastic Arts Festival in the Honors College Commons (second floor of M.D. Anderson Library). This two-day event celebrates Greek arts and features works addressing this year’s Dionysia themes, “war and rage.” Festival times, dates and events are as follows:

  • 6  p.m., April 24: UH Honors Art Competition featuring an exhibition and performances.
  • 6 p.m., April 25: UH Composer’s Showcase featuring compositions and performances from Moores School of Music students.

The Honors College at UH is a hub of excellence that serves the needs of gifted undergraduates in more than 100 fields of study and reflects the rich diversity of the University of Houston in its courses, faculty and students. For over 50 years, the Honors College has offered students the best of both worlds: the advantages of a small college together with the comprehensive resources and rich diversity of a large university. For more information about the Honors College, visit http://TheHonorsCollege.com