Interlochen Arts Academy Theatre Division to stage Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Penelopiad’
The reimagining of the myth of Odysseus will feature original music, choreography, and design by Arts Academy students.
This month the Interlochen Arts Academy Theatre Division will present the theatrical adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s critically acclaimed 2005 novella, The Penelopiad.
Performances will take place at Interlochen’s Phoenix Theatre on Friday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 30 at 2 p.m.; and Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at interlochen.org/tickets.
Adapted for the stage by the author herself, The Penelopiad reimagines Homer’s The Odyssey from the perspective of Penelope, wife of Odysseus and cousin of Helen of Troy. Atwood crafts a story of greed and murder that reimagines the Penelope immortalized in myth as the loyal wife of Odysseus who silently weaves as she waits for her husband’s return.
“Margaret Atwood has made a career out of complicating the things we accept in our society, particularly misogyny, to often uncomfortable and always thoughtful effect,” says Interlochen Arts Academy Instructor of Theatre Andrew McGinn, who is directing the performance. “Our Penelope—traditionally considered the mythological paragon of patience and loyalty—argues that she wasn’t just patient: She was put in an impossible bind and surrounded by threats.”
“Meanwhile, Atwood complicates things further by giving a leading role to Odysseus' maids, who were put to death almost immediately after his arrival back to Ithaca,” McGinn continues. “These maids do not forgive Penelope for her patience and loyalty. The Penelopiad puts all the forces at play in front of the audience and asks, 'Who's guilty, and who’s the victim?'”
The production will feature original music, choreography, and design by Arts Academy theatre students—the most student collaboration ever incorporated into one of the Academy’s mainstage theatre productions. Juniors Tatiana Arias and Margaret Deely and senior Hudson Orfe wrote the show’s original score, while postgraduate student Sydney Manno created the production’s original choreography. Students from the division’s Design & Production program developed all aspects of the production’s design, including sets, costumes, and lighting.
The Interlochen Arts Academy theatre division provides accelerated pre-professional training in acting, musical theatre, and theatre design & production for aspiring performers and technicians in grades 9-12. Since its establishment in 1962, the program has produced dozens of successful actors, designers, and theatre professionals, including Oscar-winning actor Linda Hunt, Tony-nominated actor and director Michael Arden, Emmy Award-winning actor Tom Hulce, and Tony-nominated set designer Dane Laffrey, among many others.
(Please note: The Penelopiad contains adult themes and may not be appropriate for young audiences.)