"An Iliad" @ The Cotuit Center for the Arts
When: Thu Sep 19th
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Where: Cotuit Center for the Arts | Black Box Theater | 4404 Route 28 | Cotuit
“An Iliad,” by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, a modern-day retelling of Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan War, is coming to the Black Box Theater at The Cotuit Center for the Arts from September 5 through 21. Kevin Quill will perform the one-man play Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM. He plays a lone raconteur, possibly Homer, possibly one of the many bards who came after him. Tickets are $15, $12 for members. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, visit artsonthecape.org or call 508-469-0669.
Mr. Quill is a Cape Cod native who went to Nauset High School and recently graduated from Hunter College in New York, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English literature. He also studied with a private acting coach while in college. He has been interested in performing “An Iliad” since it opened in New York.
"My character, The Poet, was there when the Trojan War took place and has been giving a firsthand account of the story, with some generation loss, for 3,000 years,” said Quill. “He has a hard time getting through parts of it, reliving the thousands of deaths and waste of human life, yet he still conveys the beauty and brotherhood that comes with the ancient art of war."
The play considers the heroism and the horror of warfare through both humor and anger, combining Homer’s original verse, as translated by Robert Fagles, with more informal contemporary commentary by the storyteller
The bard tells of the triumphs and calamities of Greek and Trojan armies and warriors and their gods, including the story of the beautiful Helen, whose kidnapping by Paris sparked the war.
“An Iliad” premiered in New York in 2010 to rave reviews. The New York Times called it “spellbinding,” and Time Out NY called it “pure theater: shocking, glorious, primal, and deeply satisfying.” The Boston Globe said it was a “mesmerizing” story of “humanity’s bottomless capacity for violence.”
Ms. Peterson, one of the play’s authors, said, “The play is about war, but it is not antiwar.”
“It’s about that thing inside human nature that makes us be able to go at somebody with a sharp object and stick it in their chest. How and why does a person do that?” “The show, she says, is “an examination of where rage comes from, and how it acts within us, and how does one deal with it.”
In his efforts to explain, Mr. Quill’s character, the Poet, makes liberal use of metaphor, using present-day examples like road rage and waiting in line at the super market to make sense of man’s behavior during war. "A major goal of the play is to keep the audience engaged,” Mr. Quill said. “The modern references and parallels aren't meant to 'dumb down' the piece, but rather to bridge the gap between Greece in 1200 BC and Cotuit in 2013 AD. The play was developed by the New York Theatre Workshop, which, Mr. Quill said, is known for presenting “very cool plays that aren’t necessarily going to be blockbusters” by playwrights who are willing to take risks, something he said the Cotuit center is willing to do in its Black Box.