Home > "An Iliad" (review) thru 11/1
"An Iliad" (review) thru 11/1

Short Description of "An Iliad" (review) thru 11/1

An Iliad (thru Nov 1)

At Shakespeare & Co

70 Kembel St




Where do gods go when they die? They become us: Our passions, our drives, our sensualities, our anger.

Close your eyes in the dimly lit  Elayne Bernstein Theatre and let your imagination run wild with "An Iliad", a 90 minute -  no intermission war of gods and goddesses, portrayed divinely through the masterful performance of Michael Toomey, a regular staple at the Shakespeare & Co buffet of fine performers. Toomey, often seen performing in comedic roles around Shakespeare & Co., stands out in front as a modem of dynamic theater. His portrayals, set forth in a one man show as a press correspondent covering the Trojan War, are rich and fertile and massage the imagination into bringing to life the torrid tale of Homer’s “Iliad”, itself a classic portrayal of the Trojan War. This story is Homer's and follows "The Iliad", but it is told through the story of a war correspondent, set in modern English, and begs your imagination to tell the story for you. You are there.

“The Iliad” is usually read in high school as a long poem, but this epic poetic- licensed version is certainly the one we all need to see. The Trojan War, serving up potions of gods and goddesses and the barbarities of war, was never an easy read (for me, as a high school student, anyway). Toomey brings the war and much more to light in a straightforward, easy to understand narrative, complete with historical recounts and references, and a tense verse that will make you weep for fictional characters. You are asked to close your eyes and see the hundreds of ships, the soldiers, the defeated bodies being burned after death to kill all chances of the plague; the tale covers the power of beauty, the grip of anger, and the inevitable questions of rage that lead to war. We all had a vision of the Trojan Horse in our heads growing up. Now, you recall those memories and imagine yourself in the ancient Greek tale of war and sorrow. Human relations were the same back then: Beautiful women still ruled men, and the inevitable question of “must war exist” remains unanswered. One hundred years after the "War to end all wars", nothing has really changed. Why?

This is called “An Iliad” because of the poetic license, but it closely follows the original tale in the back drop of a wonderful set. Toomey’s performance was spectacular: deep, riveting, and probing of your very own psyche. You will want to see this twice, because it is one of those works you know you’ll catch more the second time around. The meaning and text, like the book, is deep and profound. When we give the words emotion set in motion by our own imaginations, stand back and brace yourself.This performance, like so many of this company’s performances, is deeply educational, taking complex text and bringing it to the modern eye for ease of translation.

In the end, we don’t know if there ever was a Trojan Horse, or even a Trojan War. Homer himself, a blind scroll, may even be a pen name. But we can assume misery inspired this story, and the same lessons  and barbarity continue to travel through time.

Go see it. Twice.

    --Richard DiMaggio, didyouweekend.com

By Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare

Performed flawlessly by Michael F. Toomey

Directed by Jonathan Epstein.

Contact Information

Address: 70 Kemble St, Lenox, MA 01240, USA

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