- Wisconsin Lutheran College has tried a new technique for
producing a play called “devising,” a process of working
with a basic script but allowing all members of the cast to
inject their ideas into the final product.
a script of playwright Neil Curry adapted from Homer’s
“The Odyssey” as their textual base. The result is an
interesting experiment involving the director, the playwright
and the actors in the production.
Odyssey” is a classic story of perseverance and courage on
the part of Odysseus and his wife, Penelope. The hero of the
story fought 10 years in the Trojan War and then had a long,
tedious, challenging journey home. Meanwhile, many parasitic
suitors have been hanging around the palace, trying to win
favor with the missing master’s wife. Athena also figures
into the story as the gods always do in Greek narratives.
begins as Odysseus arrives in his native Ithaca, looking like
a beggar. He visits the swineherder Eumaeus, who does not
recognize him but nonetheless treats him with kindness.
Telemachus then arrives and is warmly greeted by Eumaeus, but
he does not recognize his father. He was a mere baby when his
father went off to war. He, himself, has been fighting in
Pylos and is wondering if his mother has given sway to one of
her many suitors.
story proceeds and eventually the suitors are challenged to
bend the bow of Odysseus to determine who will be chosen as
Penelope’s new husband, the missing master finally reveals
himself as he bends the bow, disclosing his strength and his
identity, and he is reunited with his wife and his son.
is told with the use of a chorus and masks, movements and
symbolic configurations. The action takes place amid ropes
hanging from the ceiling, which gives the stage a nautical
look. Large stools are pushed around to accommodate different
scenes and the ropes are adjusted, as well. The whole effect
is quite beautiful and flowing.
problem I had with the production, which was very creative, is
that from my seat on stage left in the auditorium, I had
difficulty hearing the dialogue when actors faced stage right,
in the cast were Benjamin Adickes as Odysseus, Joshua Scheibe
as Eumaeus and Thomas Sebald as Telemachus. Lachrisa
Grandberry, in her role as Athene, exudes the presence of a
god but is not always easily heard. The suitors are obnoxious,
as they should be.
certainly underlines the themes of courage and fidelity and
the contrasting motifs of opportunism versus
kindness. One of the most moving scenes was when
Odysseus described his construction of the marriage bed,
finally breaking through the defenses of the incredulous,
colleges are the breeding ground for exploring many forms of
theater. Wisconsin Lutheran College always does just that, and
for daring and devotion to this mission, it deserves our
support and adulation.
Bending of the Bow,” directed by Professor Jay Sierszyn,
will continue with shows at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday at
Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Raabe Theatre, 8815 W.
Wisconsin Ave., Wauwatosa. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for
senior citizens and $6 for students. For more information or
to order tickets, call the box office at 443-8802 or visit