Swept away on an ‘Odyssey’

Sami Gillette

This Friday I attended the premiere of S-E Drama Club’s “The Odyssey” and was impressed with the actors both individually and their work with the set. Adapted by Thomas Hischack for the stage from Homer’s classic work, the play was directed by Colleen Law-Tefft.
The set mainly consisted of large blocks and a few other simplistic pieces, which brought the focus more on the actors and the story they portrayed. It was not difficult to be swept up in the story – I felt as if I was in Troy watching as Odysseus and his men combatted their opponents. I watched as they fought the towering Cyclops, were bewitched by Circe and navigated Poseidon’s angry seas.
What I love best about the play is that it is a story of family, courage, and most importantly, of endurance.
Towards the end of the play Telemachus summarized it best when he said, “The gods do all of the magic, but in the end it is the mortals that fight the battle.”
All of the actors did a good job portraying their characters and I was very impressed with Lukas Fetzko, who played “a stranger.” He had the most lines to remember as he served as narrator throughout the play. He was able to capture the wisdom of his character, as well as his fortitude.
Dmitri Sofranko was very compelling as Odysseus and came across as a strong and determined leader. The suitors were equally humorous and repugnant with their sorry attempts to win Queen Penelope’s hand. The queen was ever gracious and hospitable despite the horrible circumstances.
The other members worked well acting as multiple characters. One group served as nymphs, handmaidens, sirens and even the dangerous waters of Charybdis by moving around with blue scarves.
Danielle Purdy played a seductive and intriguing Calypso, while the nurse and Athena highlighted the strength and importance of female characters in the play.
The play was at times humorous, moving and sad, especially when Odysseus lost all of his men and was kept on Calypso’s island for many years. His return home was everything one would hope – evil was defeated and a king was returned to his rightful place, reunited with his family after 20 years.
I spoke with the actors after the show and they were all pleased with the performance. Sofranko explained that he liked the challenge of working with the set.
Rachel Taylor, who played the nurse, added to this when she said, “It’s different being your own stage crew here.”
For me the play emphasized the importance of theatre, especially for students. Some of my favorite memories were acting and working in stage crew during high school. I felt included and was able to interact with other students.
Law-Tefft explains it best in the “From the Director’s Chair.”
“…theatre can become a great way of pulling people together from various backgrounds and experiences,” she wrote. “They are all working toward finding the truth in the script and what the author intended, then presenting it for the audience’s enjoyment.”