CHOOSING THE PLAY
“I selected Derek Walcott’s adaptation of The Odyssey as a celebration of Black excellence. The adaptation, chronicles Odysseus’s familiar journey from Troy home to Ithaca as he encounters the myriad obstacles that continuously extend his voyage. Walcott’s reinvention of Homer’s epic brings Caribbean language and characters to the heart of the story in beautiful poetry. For centuries, classics have been the realm of the elite and many people have felt excluded from the great wisdom these works possess. But Walcott tells the story of The Odyssey through the lens of his Caribbean heritage. The sights, sounds, and people of the story feel like people from his home island of St. Lucia. I hope this will be a way to open this ancient story to the many people of Houston and most specifically the Black community.
Alley Theatre Artistic Director, Rob Melrose
MEET THE DIRECTOR
"Why do we tell a story?
We want to affect change,
we want to preach a message,
we want to affect people,
we want to let them see themselves in a way.
These are all the reasons why we come together."
USING ART TO MAKE ART
Director, Christopher Windom uses Playwright, Derek Walcott's own paintings as inspiration for the look of Alley Theatre's production of The Odyssey. Walcott's art of the Caribbean lends itself to being the perfect backdrop for his Caribbean retelling of the Greek classic.
CHECKPOINT: BE THE LIGHT
Walcott says "all art...is based on light." What does he mean when he says light comes from within an object or person?
If Walcott doesn't mean the lighting of the show, what "light" do you think you will see in the scenes of the show? In the characters? Why?
Which of Walcott's paintings stand out to you?
Which ones will you recognize in the design of Alley Theatre's production?
WALCOTT TO WINDOM
Scroll through Jacob's costume designs by scene, to get an idea of the show's timeline
Dusk. Heavy smoke. The kings, AGAMEMNON, MENELAUS and NESTOR, with mecenary's AJAX and THERSITES, piling weapons on a pyre. Drums.
Scene 1) Noon. A raft. ODYSSEUS, ragged, badly sunburnt, is singing. Scene 2) A SHEPHERD on a rock watches as SAILORS carry ODYSSEUS ashore to Ithaca with his sacks. NAUSICAA in a cloak is waiting, ODYSSEUS sleeps throughout.
SCENE BY SCENE COSTUME TIMELINE
MEET THE CAST
"I always wanted the play to be done through the bodies of the actors. It's a very athletic poem –– if you think of it primarily as a story, you can tell it almost in mime. Here's a guy traveling, he comes across a monster, he fights with it, or he swims, or he sees the mermaids. All this can be done in an immense ballet of bodies."
- Derek Walcott,
quote from New York Times
Watch this video to see why you are one of the most important parts of this team.
Click the photo to watch the event that sparked Alley Theatre's virtual production of The Odyssey of Professor Blum, an Alley commissioned project starring our very own long-time member of Alley’s Resident Acting Company who went viral while teaching the Odyssey during the pandemic.