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MYTHOS: men Festival Theatre/Shaw Festival
By
Jun 15, 2018, 14:30
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Shaw Festival
Through July 15
MYTHOS A Trilogy…Men

Think about Homer.
For 3,000 years, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” have been central to the Canon of Western Civilization, the old story of the Attic Greeks and the Face that launched A Thousand Ships and the wooden horse.
We don’t know who wrote these stories or more likely heard them from earlier performers and over centuries the stories solidified into what was finally written down into the manuscripts passed down to us, under the pen name of Homer.
We learn of life and death and heroes and gods and goddesses and the price of losing a war.
These stories influenced those who succeeded, like Virgil’s “Aeneid,” about a surviving son of Troy’s royal family who eventually wound up in Italy among the tribes who founded Rome.
We know the meaning of clichés like the wooden horse or the wrath of Achilles or Paris and Helen or Zeus and Poseidon.
It’s an essential element of the cultural base of our society.
It’s “Mythos.”
Polymath Stephen Fry is looking at those cultural roots in three plays “Mythos A Trilogy: Gods. Heroes. Men.”
“Men” is Fry’s look at the men in those Homeric stories, of overcoming the gods and goddesses.
Over roughly 2 ½ hours, Fry tells the stories, from the origins of the gods to their mixing into the runup to the Trojan War to Odysseus’ final return to his wife and son and dog on the Island of Ithaca, alone, leaving behind all the men who left the ruins of Troy with him and began Homer’s series of deadly obstacles to returning home.
There are the little vignettes, like Paris’ youth as the seeming son of a herdsman outside Troy or Odysseus being greeted by his elderly, dying dog when he finally returns to the palace in Ithaca.
It’s a one-man performance in the Shaw’s Festival Theatre, using “The Magician’s Nephew” set, with the extensive hanging screens for projections.
Nick Bottomley’s projections really help tell the story.
The screens take the large Festival stage and make it seem much smaller for Fry, whether standing and talking or sitting and talking.
This a guy who knows the stories cold, who not only can recite the details but see them as more than just some story once recited around a fire, somewhere in the eastern Mediterranean back when bronze was the wonder metal of the day.
He can also make the stories interesting to those who didn’t have the classical education I did which revolved around Latin and Greek and these stories.
It carried a cachet not available to schools without the classics courses.
Fry has a classical education and it shows.
You just have to sit back and listen to one of those guys who knows what he’s talking about, listening to the stories of our cultural roots.
And, you can think about also seeing “Gods” and “Heroes,” all parts of “Mythos A Trilogy: Gods. Heroes. Men.”
One down and two to go.

A.W.

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