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.”