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Losing A Day to a Greek Epic (as you do), Post #50 - Laura Wise

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August 15th, 2015


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03:43 pm - Losing A Day to a Greek Epic (as you do), Post #50
Yesterday I lost approximately 9 and a half hours to The Iliad.

A friend of mine alerted me to the project, regarding which I'd unaccountably missed advanced word (which meant a to-do list basically was left forlorn and untouched, other than meetings I couldn't skip). The Almeida Theatre, in partnership with the British Museum, produced a complete reading of Robert Fagles' translation of the Homeric epic: 50-odd actors, each getting 10 to 30 minutes to read sections of the poem, starting at the first line and ending 16+ hours later with Tim Pigott-Smith saying "And so the Trojans buried Hector, breaker of horses."

The idea of the project is cool enough, but because we live in the future, the Almeida livestreamed all of it. ANYONE in the world could watch, including a subtropical-dwelling someone who really should have been working. The production was bare-bones: two long-shot cameras and one close-up for the readers, both at the British Museum daytime reading and the Almeida Theatre conclusion (which began at 8 pm and itself was well over four hours: as in, Mark Gatiss did his full-length performance at the National in the PMarber/Turgenev play and then bustled over to the Almeida to read. Which I missed, damnit).

The performances were phenomenal. It was a diverse group of actors (in terms of age, gender, race) pulled together and directed by Rupert Goold, director of the Almeida, and Robert Icke, his associate director. I didn't get to see all of it, but I saw 9 and a half hours, so.... It was all good, and I liked the many different reading and performance styles. My favorites of the ones I saw: John Heffernan (who played Lascelles in JS&MN), a dryly funny yet moving take on an early Achean mission to get that damn Achilles out of his tent; Kate Fleetwood, who was FIERCE, giving real promise for her Medea later this season; [EDITED TO ADD] Rory Kinnear, who was great with Hector v Ajax]; Sam West, whose work I always adore; Bertie Carvel, who got to do Achilles' rage-filled grief at hearing of Patroclus' death, which he did to such effect that he practically blew out the speakers and quite literally roared louder than the thunder outside my window at the time. (I tried to find a working link to viewer-made vids of his and Ben Whishaw's readings, but nothing's playing for me: however, here's a gif-set of him Acting Ferociously. A tweet from some Metal head, which B Carvel later retweeted (bless), was this: "Holy hell, Bertie Carvel reading the Iliad was probably the most amazing, most Metal thing I've ever seen.")

To make everything more special, there was an official IliadLive Twitter account posting wittily phrased plot updates and comments and keeping us up-to-date on where we were and who was reading, and #iliad trended off and on all day. It was a delightful, odd community to witness this feat.

Sometimes it's pretty damn cool to live in the future.

What's making you happy today? Hope you have a good long list. :)

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:freixenet
Date:August 15th, 2015 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Oh, no, you missed Gatiss? So sad. But your squeeing about this yesterday made me very, very happy. It was contagious! (In a good way.) Thanks for coming to that one meeting. It was appreciated.

My happy today: um, a fabulous 20 minutes of hustle (not recorded DAMN IT), a leisurely laze with kitties, and my husband's slight snoring coming from the bedroom. He's earned it. Oh, and there's tango tonight, or so I'm told. All good.

happy Saturday!

(hugs)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
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Yay for your happy things yesterday, and yay for your happy thing today! :)

Hugs!
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From:paratti
Date:August 15th, 2015 08:23 pm (UTC)
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Livestreaming rocks:)
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From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
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It was the best thing. :)

Cheers for your Sunday, and hugs!
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From:kathyh
Date:August 15th, 2015 09:21 pm (UTC)
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Agh! I'd spotted that was on and meant to try and see some of it but forgot all about it. Glad you saw it.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:17 pm (UTC)
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I would have missed it if a friend hadn't alerted me yesterday morning. However, they've got a podcast of it all, if you want the voices!

[hugs]
[User Picture]
From:kathyh
Date:August 16th, 2015 03:14 pm (UTC)
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Oh, thanks! I was hoping there was a recording but hadn't got round to looking. Off to grab it now.

Many hugs.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
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The podcast isn't out yet, but it's coming, per the Almeida website.
[User Picture]
From:kathyh
Date:August 16th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC)
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Yes, thanks, I just saw that and was quite relieved there were going to be several podcasts rather than one enormous one!
[User Picture]
From:gwynnega
Date:August 15th, 2015 10:19 pm (UTC)
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That sounds so marvelous. The Nitrate Diva livetweeted a lot of it!

At the moment, air conditioning and coffee are making me happy. :-)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:20 pm (UTC)
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It was heaven. (As soon as it was over, people started Tweeting, "So, The Odyssey next?" Rupert Goold studiously ignored them. ;))

Hugs and air-conditioning!
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From:anne_d
Date:August 15th, 2015 11:19 pm (UTC)
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Wow, what a find! I can well understand why you spent the day with the classics.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:21 pm (UTC)
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It was shiver-makingly awesome. :)

Hugs and good things for your Sunday!
[User Picture]
From:mobile_alh
Date:August 15th, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
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Well, that certainly sounds like your idea of heaven! How lovely!

Buttons arrived today for my finished red sweater (now to choose at last) and we have finally pinned down the flooring for the addition -- prices of remodel do indeed terrorize the man of the house, but he's getting used to it, so red oak it is!

Hugs, hugs and hooray for the classics!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:22 pm (UTC)
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It was truly, truly fabulous. :)

YAY for buttons and flooring (and the man of the house's agreement with red oak)! Hugs and a great day!
[User Picture]
From:mamculuna
Date:August 16th, 2015 02:18 am (UTC)
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What a great day! That translation is especially great, and such readers!

Happiness today for me was an architecture tour with a friend I don't see often (and learned again about how beautifully buildings can speak to each other), a visit to a neighborhood I don't know well, and a very strange but good, if sweet cocktail with a Tex-Mex mean: horchata with mezcal.

Odd things make me happy!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:23 pm (UTC)
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I cannot believe how truly awesome it was (and how I got to see/hear it). :)

Oh, that architecture tour sounds so WONDERFUL. And yay for cocktails and friendship!
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From:janus_74
Date:August 16th, 2015 01:47 pm (UTC)
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That would have been interesting to watch. Also a little mind boggling in how many people would be needed to do the readings.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:August 16th, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
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It was a feat of logistics, absolutely, in addition to an amazing artistic challenge!

Cheers for your Sunday, T.
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:August 26th, 2015 08:42 pm (UTC)
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How did I miss knowing about that?
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From:laurawise
Date:August 29th, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC)
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It wasn't too well publicized, I thought. If a friend hadn't alerted me, I'd had missed it too!

Cheers for your day, Stevie.

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