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Eldon

Hello, I'm Eldon Quick.

Why would anyone want to see a one-hour, one man performance of ...Book One of "The Iliad"?

Apart from the fact that "The Iliad" is the corner stone of Western literature, and the most alluded to story in the English language, I can think of only one reason -- It's one hell-of-a good story!

When Homer set out to compose "The Iliad" his goal wasn't to create great literature, it was to create great entertainment! To do this he elevated the craft of story telling to new heights. For the first time entertainment took on the challenge of creating characters that literally "came alive" before an audience, revealing their inner emotions and motivations as real human beings.

The tools Homer had at hand for this effort were -- himself, his imagination, his voice, his understanding of human nature, and history.

With these tools he created a one man, stand-up act that has survived 27 centuries. And defied all efforts to make it into anything else.

In the recent past, (like last two centuries) I can find no record of any attempt to recreate Homers Stand-up Act as a theatrical event. And I'm at a loss to understand why not! It is so rich, so full, so contemporary.

Perhaps it's the daunting task of memorizing it. (It took me 5 years) Perhaps it's the language. (I use Robert Fitzgerald's translation) Perhaps by just reading it you can't see or hear Akhilleus, young, doomed, full of his own sense of self horor--

 
  Akhilleus

"I swear a day will come when every Akhaian soldier will groan to have Akhilleus back. That day you shall no more prevail on me than this dry wood shall flourish -- driven though you are, and though a thousand men perish before the killer Hector. You will eat your heart out, raging with remorse for this dishonor done by you to the bravest of Akhaians!"
 
    Eldon

Agamemnon, whose every move, every statement has only one purpose, the acquisition of more power.
 
  Agamemnon

"Desert, if that's the way the wind blows. Will I beg you to stay on my account? I will not. Others will honor me, and Zeus who views the wide world most of all."
 
    Eldon

The wise old Nestor. -- Its just that what happened sixty years ago is as clear in his mind as yesterday.
 
  Nestor

"Give me your attention. Both are younger men than I, and in my time men who were even greater have I known and none of them disdained me. Men like those I have not seen again, nor shall."
 
    Eldon

Gods come and go in "The Iliad" just like any human character. In fact they are often mistaken for humans, and they would be human if it weren't for the facts: They are immortal. All powerful. Able to appear wherever, and whenever, and as whatever they wish. Zeus is the Father of the Gods, and the most powerful of them all.
 
  Zeus

"Here is trouble. You drive me into open war with Hera. Sooner or later she will be at me, scolding all day long. Even as matters stand she never rests from badgering me before the gods: 'You take the Trojan side in battle.' So she says."
 
    Eldon

Hera, Zeus' wife, and older sister is ever dutiful, ever obedient.
 
  Hera

Who is it this time schemer? Who has your ear? How fond you are of secret plans, of taking decisions privately! You could not bring yourself, could you, to favor me with any word of your new plot?"
 
    Eldon

Hephaistos, Hera's son, would defend his mother had experience not taught him better.
 
  Hephaistos

"...he caught me around one foot and flung me into the sky from our tremendous terrace. I soared all day! Just as the sun dropped down I dropped down, too, on Lemnos, nearly dead. The island people nursed a fallen god."
 
    Eldon

I must say that the audience response has been overwhelmingly positive. Professor Bruce Thornton, head of the Classics Department at UC Fresno, was kind enouph to write;

"You remind us that Homer is really about people, passionate and flawed, who collide tragically -- that is, Homer is about life. You can do more to revitalize ancient literature than any 100 scholarly monographs."

When I performed in Greece, The Greek National Tour Guide Maria Mavrelli wrote me;

"...thank you for such a wonderful presentation of the Iliad for our Grand Circle Group.... The characters you portrayed revived the ancient heroes native to this land that you visited."

The Program chairman Nadine Smith, of The Woman's Club of Hollywood wrote;

"Your enterpretation of the fine Old Classic was outstanding! You took us to Ancient Greece and let us mingle with the Gods and mortals -- it was great fun..."



Book One is best performed in intimate surroundings just as Homer would have done it, without scenery, without props, without special lighting, or audio enhancements.

I've performed in living rooms, lecture halls, small theaters, and restaurants. All that's needed is a "stage" area of about 8, by 12 feet, and an audience.

An introduction of about 12 minutes gives a modern day audience the same background for the story Homer's audience might have had. It also sets a "frame" for "The Iliad" so an audience unfamiliar with Homer or "The Iliad" can appreciate what Homer did.

Almost everyone has heard of "The Iliad", some have even read it, but who among you has ever seen it live, up close, performed from memory as it was intended to be. Until you have, you cannot know "The Iliad," and knowing "The Iliad" is a most pleasant experience. One I would very much like to share with you and those you represent.

 
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