Preview: Quantum Theatre’s An Odyssey To Kick Off 30th Anniversary Season 

Quantum Theatre kicks off its 30th Anniversary season with a live, outdoor performance of Jay Ball’s An Odyssey at the iconic Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink from August 13 to September 5. 

Directed by Jed Allen HarrisAn Odyssey is a contemporary treatment of Homer’s classic filled with humor. It pointedly explores the definition of heroism in our present by emphasizing female characters (mere footnotes in the original) and how they see Odysseus’s actions through their own eyes. The project reunites Jed with key members of the imaginative team behind Quantum’s 2016 production of Collaborators.  

An Odyssey is Quantum’s 11th collaboration with Citiparks. Its home in the Schenley Park Ice Skating Rink evokes an enormous facsimile of a Greek amphitheater. The rink allows audiences plenty of room, amazing vistas, and sunsets to provide a natural backdrop for the show. This sense of scale and visual depth is amplified by Narelle Sissons’ imaginative scenic design: an immersive installation employing dozens of sheets and thousands of feet of rope and yarn, primarily donated by Quantum audience and community members. 

“Jay Ball’s adaptation takes us on a magnificent journey where we go back and forth between the epic and the domestic in his play,” said Sissons. “To achieve this, we have come up with a world of entangled ropes. At first, we see the rope as lines of washing, then later, as the laundry disappears and the storm begins, we see ropes of a ship. Finally landing in a bare space only of ropes, we understand the entanglement of Odysseus and Penelope as a larger and more epic symbol of ourselves and our own lives.”

Checkout the shows trailer here https://vimeo.com/585314067

Quantum’s founder and Artistic Director Karla Boos says, “Jay’s adaptation of Homer’s text is contemporary, snappy, and very funny. His work was influenced by Emily Wilson’s recent translation and is thoughtful about what this most ancient story has to say to 21st-century audiences. For example, the Cyclops story looks like the toxic masculinity it is here, and the women of the piece, especially the young princess Nausicaa, are central. But with Jay’s sly humor, it’s a production that we think will be enjoyable — for classics lovers and novices alike.”

Sam Turich (foreground), Erika Strasburg, Sam Lothard, Grace Vensel, Shammen McCune, Nancy McNulty

Photos by Heather Mull

An Odyssey features Scenic Design by Narelle Sissons, Lighting Design by C. Todd Brown, Costume Design by Melinda Eshelman, and Sound Design by Joe Pino. Its cast includes Catherine Gowl, Sam Lothard, Shammen McCune, Nancy McNulty, Erika Strasburg, Grace Vensel, and Sam Turich as Odysseus.

Special events for the show include:

  • Pay What You Can preview on August 11
  • Community Night preview on August 12
  • Opening Night reception with the cast and team on August 13
  • Q&A with the artists following the performance on August 15
  • Pre-show Social Q and Quantum Quaff events on August 18 and 19 
  • Post-show Quantum on the Couch talkback on August 28

All performances begin at 8PM. Audiences will not be required to wear masks when attending the play in the expansive outdoor rink. Capacity for the show will be slightly reduced to allow comfortable space between chairs — parties can ‘self-pod’ if they wish. Tickets and more information on An Odyssey at https://www.quantumtheatre.com/anodyssey/

Categories: Show Previews

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