ILIAD

Type Performance
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
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Abstract

'ILIAD' was commissioned and produced by National Theatre Wales (NTW) as part of the company’s fifth session of work. The project was co-conceived, co-directed and designed by Brookes; as the latest work to be realised within his long-term artistic collaboration with theatre maker and academic Mike Pearson. ILIAD continued the development of Brookes and Pearson’s approaches to located stage work within their work with NTW, being the third production created by Brookes and Pearson for the company since its inauguration in 2010 – following both 'The Persians' (2010), staged within the landscape of a Ministry of Defence training range in the Brecon Beacons for NTW’s inaugural season, and 'Coriolan/us' (2012), commissioned and realised in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and London 2012.

This durational staging of British poet Christopher Logue’s epic poem 'War Music' – a contemporary poetic reimagining of the main events in Homer’s account of the last weeks of the Trojan War – was presented in a reconfigured auditorium space within The Ffwrnes, Llanelli, between September 21st and October 3rd 2015. The production was performed initially as a series of separate and consecutive episodes, followed by two marathon performances of the entire work – the first all day, and the second overnight. The project performed Logue’s text verbatim, and was the first time that the poem had been staged in its entirety. ILIAD involved the convergence of approaches of site-specific work and live art, with those of poetic narration and rehearsed reading, in a multi-media performance including advanced video and audio technologies. The project was commissioned by NTW, in response to The Persians (2010) and Coriolan/us (2012), with the ambition of creating and manifesting new approaches to the staging and performance of poetic text through the research, conceptual and dramaturgical practices of the co-directors.

Research questions include:
In what ways can advanced techniques of alternative performance practice reveal new approaches to the durational staging of an epic poem?
How might contemporary media and technology be employed to support the form and dramaturgy of such a staging, and to enhance an understanding and appreciation of its event for audiences?
In what ways might located and context-specific live art practices be engaged to expand and enhance approaches to the large-scale staging of a poetic text within auditoria?
In what ways can long-term practice-based research inform and extend the production practices of theatre-making for both professional and public benefit?