Archive for the ‘Margaret Atwood’ Category

The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood’s female-centred retelling of the Odysseus myth, began its run at a local theatre this week and tonight my mother and I went to see it.  I was enthralled while my mother was a bit uncertain about the whole thing.  I read The Penelopiad as a book when it first came out and admired its echoing of classical Greek drama structures with Penelope’s monologues and her wronged handmaidens’ as the chorus.  This made it the perfect book to adapt for the stage but, at the same time, it was those classical conventions that my mother found too experimental.  She missed the dialogue and interaction between characters, considered the staging excessively minimal, and just thought everything was rather odd (which, to be fair, it kind of is and I was much better prepared for that than she).  But I loved, loved, loved it.  I loved Penelope’s wry sense of humour, the actress’ excellent delivery, the haunting repetitions by the handmaidens, and, most of all, the incorporation of beautiful songs into a number of the scenes.  Penelope singing to her son or with her handmaidens, sailors telling of Odysseus’s adventures…all the songs were excellent and cleverly incorporated into the show.  I had no idea there was going to be any music at all so it was a delightful surprise. 

And what made it all even better was overhearing people say, as we were leaving the theatre, ‘I can’t wait to get home and start rereading The Odyssey.’

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