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Theater KAPOW presents Living In Exile. Courtesy photo.




Living in Exile 

Where: Stockbridge Theater, 5 Pinkerton St., Derry 
When: Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. 
Cost: Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors 
More info: tkapow.com




Epic performance
Homer’s Iliad takes a new form onstage

09/28/17
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 An ancient Greek tale gets a contemporary twist in theatre KAPOW’s latest production, Living in Exile, which makes its New Hampshire premiere on Friday, Sept. 29, at the Stockbridge Theatre in Derry. 

The play is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad, an epic poem that narrates events from some of the final weeks of the Trojan War, focusing on the conflict between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Set in a modern living room, Living in Exile stars only two actors and two musicians, who use animated storytelling to bring the poem to life. 
Theatre KAPOW artistic director Matthew Cahoon discovered the play when it opened in New York City in 2011. When it came time to choose an opening play for the company’s 10th anniversary season this year, which follows the theme “Faith and Story,” Living in Exile seemed like the natural choice. 
“It’s been six years since my first experience with the play, but we always held onto the idea of doing it eventually,” Cahoon said. “When you think about the Iliad, it was part of an oral tradition of storytelling, and it tells the story of gods and men, so it fit nicely into this season’s theme.” 
The playwright Jon Lipsky, who died in 2011, was a writer, director and professor of acting and playwriting at the Boston University School of Theater. He wrote Living in Exile as a full adaption of Iliad with modern English language and additional imagined scenes not found in the original poem.  
“It’s a very accessible piece,” Cahoon said. “There is very little about it that would make you think it’s an ancient Greek story, but the characters and the story will still seem familiar.” 
The two actors will narrate the story and embody a number of characters in a simple living room set and with casual, contemporary dress and ordinary household items as props. The two musicians will perform the play’s original score and musical scenes using various media, such as piano, guitar, percussion and voice. 
“Because of the size and scope [of Iliad] — thousands of soldiers, big battle scenes, gods — it’s a very difficult piece of literature to stage, and I think what Lipsky has done brilliantly is staged it as storytelling,” Cahoon said. “He’s challenging theater companies to get really creative and find ways of telling an epic story in an intimate setting.” 
That intimate setting is created not only on stage, but also for the audience. The show is limited to around 60 seats, spread across couches and overstuffed chairs, some of which are as close as 10 feet from the stage. 
“It will be a different theater-going experience than what most people are used to. It’s more inclusive of the audience. Every performance feels like you’re in the living room, listening to the story unfold,” Cahoon said. “I think that’s what we’re looking forward to the most. We can’t tell the story without someone to tell it to.” 





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