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Oh, Muse: Teen Council meets Lisa Peterson

posted by School of Theatre on Thu, Oct 25, 2012
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

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By Frances Maples, Teen Council member

An Iliad, a powerful, provocative play based on Homer’s The Iliad was eye-opening for 75 Bay Area teens who attended the show early in October. Before the performance, Frances Maples interviewed acclaimed director and writer, Lisa Peterson, asking the artist about her creative processes and inspirations.

Director Lisa Peterson with Frances Maples

It was very interesting how [Lisa] mixed realism and fantasy, both with her writing and directing. While writing the play she actually recorded conversations she had and used them as a way to create realistic speech in the play. She wanted the stage to look as if it actually was an empty theatre. Yet she has on stage this immortal character talking about gods, ancient wars, and heroes who can talk to animals.

[Lisa also] talked about how one of the Greek muses is the muse of music, and how music has always been very important to her. She also said that because of this, music was very important to this show. An Iliad was originally a song, and the Poet character mentions that he used to sing it. The accompanying musician also gave the show that little extra something it needed.

As for my muses, I do tend to listen to music while I write or take a walk alone to help me get in the creative mood or get me inspired, so I guess our creative processes are related in that sense. Music does tend to be a uniting factor for a lot of people in that way. Some people may not like rock and others might not like classical, but it's very rare to find someone who doesn't have a favorite song that evokes strong emotion in them.

This play is surprisingly relevant, considering that the story is thousands of years old. I don't know about other teens, but my history teacher is always telling my class to try to connect the dots between historical events and to notice the trends. This play does just that.


As an older adult who has lived through several wars and a lifelong interest in theatre, I just want to express my admiration for the tour de force production of An Iliad I attended Last night. Not only did the script graphically paint the details of the time, place and events of Troy, but appropriately evoked the history of battles ever since. Especially remarkable was the performance of Henry Woronicz. Memory, freedom of action,emotional color--all marvelous! That it affected everyone else was evidenced by the breathless silence of the audience throughout the performace, culminating in the standing ovation at the end. BRAVO to all involved

Ethel Mussen | Mon, Oct 29, 2012

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