Georgia Shakespeare's THE ODYSSEY Promo

Even though Homer's The Odyssey has been performed, filmed, edited and adapted several times and it's been on many a high school reading list, it's still a work that falls into the "I was supposed to read it, but never did" realm. Most of us know the general outline of the story because we've been able to piece it together via all the various versions and retellings.

Georgia Shakespeare is doing an update of the story in October titled The Odyssey: A Journey Home that juxtaposes "Odysseus' 10-year journey home against the kaleidoscope of our modern soldiers returning home." So how do you convey what this updated take is going to look and feel like?

Not only are you battling what little bits people know of the original story, the moment you say "modern soldiers" the ever lasting specter of post-Vietnam malaise can't help but find its way into the minds of ticket buyers.

So I'm assuming that, besides helping to sell tickets, the below promo exists to make audiences aware that the focus will remain, as a big chunk of the original story does, on the journey, as well as the reasons why soldiers for millenniums have fought their way home. Odysseus' main drive is to get back to his wife and kid after all and for many solider during a tour that's a universal truth.

My only critique is that I do wish there had been bits of the actual production (even if it had to be restaged in the "real" world) in the promo. Although, that's probably not the fault of the folks doing this, since it's difficult to get around the current rules about what can and can't be filmed and posted/broadcast of a stage production before you run a foul of Actor's Equity. And exactly how much you can do outside of the production will always meet with time and resource constraints.

Having not seen the adaptation itself though, I would still consider this a successful preview in that it lets audiences know that if they bleed blue, red or some shade of purple, they most likely won't have to worry about being preached to.

Personally, I'm liberal as they come, yet, I've never been a fan of the politicization of the folks in uniforms by either side, in any form. Even more than that, I'm rarely a fan of didactic art. It's rarely informative and outside of the moment of its creation, dates quickly.

As one final thought, I do wonder what kind of additional story could have been told in this promo. It would have been interesting to see what bit of new story could have been created to play into the larger narrative, yet would stand on its own. As a town that has a lot overlap in the film and theater worlds, and does some very innovative work, I hope theater companies try to push beyond just the promos and to think bigger.

Georgia Shakespeare Presents-The Odyssey: A Homecoming from chris tsambis* on Vimeo.

*In full disclosure, I get drunk and sing karaoke with this dude from time to time.