The Odyssey Drama Production

Michelle Ho, Staff Writer

Held in the Black Box Theater, students performed The Odyssey to a full house on May 11, 12, and 13.  As the theater is much smaller than that of the Performing Arts Center (PAC), it allowed for a closer intimacy with the actors and the play itself. The crowd was excited and murmured amongst themselves as the play began with the introduction of the directors and producers of the drama.

The production was directed by Mr. Evan Tamayo as well as student Co-Directors Amber Comanescu, Annika Zhang, Ashley Warp, Ariel Alcazar, Jared Daniels, Kevin Wu, and Lucas Lim. The student directors are part of the Advanced Theater Arts class, and, as part of the directing program, are able to learn more about the process of directing a drama production. 

While condensing the original play length of three hours into one hour was no easy feat, Mr. Tamayo was able to maintain the key elements of the story to create a fast-paced drama.

“We began working on the show at the end of February when we read the play as a class,” said Mr. Tamayo. “We took our time to understand where the stories came from so we [could] have a deeper connection to the play.”

Performed by the Intermediate Theater Arts class, the students began preparing for their play early on in the year to ensure that they would be ready for opening day. Students analyzed the original text of The Odyssey, making connections and really understanding the different scenes to make the process of acting more effortless and seamless.

According to Mr. Tamayo, the student directors were “either assigned [scenes] or headed the dance choreography and music creation. We [also] spent a lot of time creating original music to put some of the text of the play into a musical format.” The majority of the play was entirely student-made, including the stage set, which was built by the Advanced Stagecraft class.

“I absolutely enjoyed [acting in] The Odyssey and enjoyed playing such a dramatic role. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew,” said sophomore Aspen Myrovld, who played the main role of Odysseus in the play.

“I played [one of the] siren[s] and [Nausicaa’s] companion in The Odyssey,” said freshman Naomi Stone. “I really enjoyed it because I got to sing and dance and just have fun. It was special because it [was] my first and last Arcadia Stage show and I loved it!” 

“I thought it was really cool seeing a performance in the Black Box. I’ve never seen a play in there, so it was [definitely] an experience,” said sophomore Caleb Akers. “My favorite parts were the Poseidon appearances.” Both the audience and the cast members thoroughly enjoyed the show, as the audience laughed along to the comedic lines and applauded enthusiastically when the play finished.

The actors performed the play beautifully, incorporating comedic lines and movements into the epic and adventure-filled story. The scene depicting the Island of the Cyclops was especially well-designed; utilizing shadows and light, the giant was played by sophomore Zach Carter behind a curtain, and a light projected behind him created a shadow three times as large as Carter. This clever use of stage lighting made the scene more vivid and comprehensible, as the audience was able to visualize the giant not as a regular-sized person, but a huge ten-foot beast.

“From my first meeting with them in February to the opening performance, these actors have continually impressed me by improving their craft of acting and allowing themselves to be funny, vulnerable, bold, and passionate in their performances,” said Mr. Tamayo.

The recreation of the epic poem The Odyssey was nothing short of captivating and thrilling. The actors and behind-the-scenes members outdid themselves in putting on an amazing play for the audience, and they truly helped bring the play to life. The audience members who secured a ticket were lucky to have attended this memorable performance.

Photo courtesy of Arcadia Stage