Poetry News

Adrian Dunbar to Direct Version of Homer's Odyssey on Atlantic Coast of Ireland

By Harriet Staff
The Odyssey, painting

In Donegal, Ireland, Stuart Jeffries talks to actor Adrian Dunbar about directing, "[o]ver five nights on five different beaches," what Dunbar calls a rhapsode, "narrating from Homer’s Odyssey the tale of one man’s 10-year journey home from the Trojan wars to the family home in Ithaca, where he takes out the importunate trash of suitors to his wife. 'It’ll be theatre governed by the tides,' says Dunbar." More about this project is up at The Guardian:

Dunbar’s Odyssey is part of the Arts Over Borders festival devoted to the great playwright Brian Friel, who died at his home on the northern tip of County Donegal in 2015, but spent much of his childhood across the border in Derry. This year, the festival will explore Friel’s relationship with Homer. The Irish dramatist was said to have read The Odyssey or The Iliad each year. Cusack will be reading from Stephen Mitchell’s translations, which Friel favoured. “He liked its metre, how it trotted along. It’s got a good equine bounce.”

Meanwhile, in Guildhall Square in Derry, there will be a giant wooden horse, evoking both the siege of Troy, and the 1689 siege of Derry by Jacobite forces. The belly of the horse, though, won’t conceal Greek or even Jacobite soldiers – there will be storytelling under it for children.

Dunbar says Donegal provided Friel with an escape from troubled, divided Derry. “So the idea of putting together this touchstone of his youth, The Odyssey, with the beaches of Donegal was too good an idea to let go.” Dunbar likes to suppose that on those beaches Friel would imagine Odysseus and his followers lost among the islands across the waves to the west.

Read on right here.

Originally Published: August 22nd, 2017