New York Aquila Theater company will perform Orwell’s “1984” and Homer’s “Odyssey. Courtesy | Wiki­media Commons

New York based Aquila Theatre company will bring its talent to Hillsdale College Stu­dents, pro­viding them an oppor­tunity to see mod­ernized stage ver­sions of George Orwell’s “1984” and Homer’s “Odyssey.”

The pro­duc­tions will take place Jan. 28 and Jan. 29 in the Markel Audi­torium. 

Aquila Theatre’s mission is to bring good, acces­sible, and affordable theater to as many as pos­sible, according to Desiree Sanchez, director of both pro­duc­tions. In line with that mission, the Aquila Theatre troupe tours over 50 towns and cities in the U.S. and inter­na­tionally during the course of one year. 

The company also often mod­ernizes the classic stories they present, and both “1984” and the “Odyssey” will be set in present time. 

“I think that what is really exciting is that when you put a classic work on stage and you go through the process of having actors believably portray every moment in the script,” Sanchez said.  “I guess with the Odyssey I have read it many times and every time I read it I get some­thing com­pletely new out of it, and that sort of quadruples when you put it on stage and in the mouth of an actor who has to make it come alive.” 

Sanchez stressed that 1984 is very rel­evant, and explores Orwell’s pre­dic­tions in terms of current political and tech­no­logical devel­op­ments. Their pro­duction of “The Odyssey” focuses on the idea of returning home in light of the U.S.’s current state of con­stant war. 

Sanchez said that she is also excited to be using the first version of the “Odyssey” trans­lated into English by a woman, Emily Wilson. 

“It’s also got a very dif­ferent per­spective when you think about which words are chosen to translate an ancient text,” Sanchez said. 

Kirby Thigpen, a junior and theater major, and she said that she will def­i­nitely be attending the per­for­mances. 

“Theater is inher­ently a col­lab­o­rative process, so theater prac­ti­tioners should always be adapting and changing their art in response to not only the world around them and their per­sonal expe­ri­ences, but also in response to the move­ments and changes in theater as both an industry and an art,” Thigpen said. “It’s for this last reason that seeing diverse outside per­for­mance groups is so ben­e­ficial to, not only the larger Hillsdale audience, but to those of us who practice theater as a pro­fession, art, and passion.”