Today was the first day of rehearsal for the Denver Center Theatre Company’s world premiere of playwright Marcus Gardley’s “black odyssey.” It magically recasts Homer’s Odysseus as a black soldier returning home from the Gulf War. The play runs from Jan. 17 through Feb. 16 in the Space Theatre.
From left: music composer Jaret Landon Williams, lighting designer Charles MacLeod, director of new-play development Bruce K. Sevy, Gardley and director Chay Yew. Call 303-894-4100, or go to www.denvercenter.org.
Denver Center commissioned playwright Marcus Gardley regaled and moved a standing-room-only crowd at the eighth annual Colorado New Play Summit.
The 200+ guests were drawn into his play, black odyssey, a magical retelling of Homer’s Odyssey told through the African American experience.
The great Greek archetypes blend myth and history into modern reality as the characters slip and slide through time. Great Grand Daddy Deus masterfully manipulates the players while Great Aunt Tina intervenes to protect Ulysses from his vengeful Uncle Sidin.
Ripped apart by war, Nella Pee and Ulysses seek to reunite while moving through the rough streets of Harlem, the Iran/Iraq war, the Civil Rights Movement and the rift between the North and the South. The audience is draw through time as the cast weaves together fact and fiction to create a fabric that is a vibrant retelling of Zeus, Poseidon and Ulysses.
Nella and Ulysses move separately through the play but on parallel journeys as they flee to escape persecution and run toward salvation — the salvation found in peace, family and love.