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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 November 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2018 15 THEATRE on the battle to adapt Homer’s Iliad pa tells us about the monumental task of adapting Homer’s epic for the 2019 Sydney Festival experience was also a major asset in adapting The Iliad especially for the purposes of performing the work in front of an audience on stage. "I've written plays but I'm also an actor so I know about the spoken word," he says. "That's helped me get into this. Because it's storytelling and acting is storytelling. It's an amazing story. It's horrific on many levels, like the descriptions of the battle scenes. But it is counterpointed with some of the most beautiful and tender things I have ever read." One of Zappa's favourite scenes is when Hector sees his wife Princess Andromache with their baby son Astyanax. Hearing the iconic performer recite the passage it's no surprise that The Iliad has had him enthralled for the past six years. "Achilles killed my father, my seven brothers. My whole family has been killed. My mother was captured and then she was ransomed off and she died of a broken heart, Artemis the Archer killed her. Now you are my brothers, you are my husband, you are my mother." Zappa struggles to finish the last line as his eyes well up and tears start to roll down his face. "It's so beautiful. You see how emotional I get? Hector then says, 'I have to go. Think of the shame if I don't go.'" Zappa adds, "So it's this extraordinary thing of men's pride. In a way, I sometimes think wouldn't it be good if we actually allowed ourselves to be ashamed? To acknowledge it. This story is 3,000 years old. It's based on events that happened 2,000 years before and we are still mad men fighting the same stupid fucking wars. We have learnt nothing." Born in England to a Greek mother and an English father, Zappa moved to Australia when he was 28 and says that adapting and performing The Iliad has allowed him to get in touch with his ethnic heritage. "I'm extremely proud of my Greek side and I know most of the time it's my Anglo side that is expressed because they're my formative years. But I'm absolutely ashamed of the fact that I don't speak anywhere near as much Greek as I'd like to. "Regarding Homer's work, down the track I'd like to do things like going to Herodes Atticus at the foot of the Acropolis or at the Peloponnese. But my big, big ambition is that my adaptation becomes standard text in school so kids can read it." The Iliad – Out Loud is being staged at Belvoir St Theatre from 23-27 January. For tickets visit: https://www.sydneyfestival. org.au/events/theiliad-out-loud Cast members Heather Mitchell, William Zappa, and Socratis Otto.
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