Even in previews, An Iliad earned standing ovations and more than several teary eyes as actor Henry Woronicz captivated audiences with a contemporary retelling of the Trojan War.
It officially opened on Wednesday -- and the reviews are in! Here's what the critics say:
“Absolutely riveting… Henry Woronicz gives a tour de force performance as he holds the stage almost alone for 100 uninterrupted minutes. He embodies the Trojan War, from the horrors of hand-to-hand carnage to the serenity of a pastoral lull, his body seeming to swell into the great warrior Achilles or coil into a seductive Helen of Troy… Woronicz slips easily from warrior bravado into the loving protectiveness of Hector's wife Andromache and the heartbreaking grief of his aged father… He's mesmerizing from the moment we first see him.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“Mesmerizing… An Iliad is nothing less than breathtaking… Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's startling and visceral adaptation of Homer's epic poem condenses the odyssey of the Trojan War into an explosive one-man show… Henry Woronicz, former head of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, delivers a spellbinding performance… He tells the tale with such clarity that arcane plot twists seem as relevant as reports from the frontlines in Afghanistan.” – Mercury News / Contra Costa Times
“Devastating… An Iliad, the mesmerizing theater piece that opened Wednesday at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, manages to create the sights and sounds, the epic sweep and tragic immediacy of the Trojan War in the performance of a single actor… In rich language – and pointed asides – he makes us feel each clanging sword, each fatal wound, each cry of pain from the vanquished. Peterson stages the action brilliantly.” – San Francisco Examiner
“Impressive… A master class in oration, and in classical storytelling, it works marvelously… Woronicz does a fantastic, laudatory job of taking on this play, which is as much endurance test as it is proving ground for an aging actors' skill at holding an audience's attention… A welcome respite from and accompaniment to Woronicz's lone figure on stage is a bassist, Brian Ellington, who occupies a perch above the stage and provides a soundtrack to the war and the moments of intimacy in the tale.” - SFist
Just saw Henry Woronicz in "An Illiad". I'm 73 years old and have seen lots of good theatre and good acting, but I have never seen an actor do what he did on stage today in "An Illiad". Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was profoundly moved. The play, the bassist, lighting, and staging were all outstanding, but Henry Woronicz knocked the socks off me.