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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Last Week for An Iliad at the Public

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 8:46 AM

For all the theatrical fireworks actor Teagle F. Bougere creates on stage in his solo turn in this show, the most engrossing drama might be an interior one.


The play’s conceit is that Bougere's character, The Poet, is a sort of immortal if down-on-his-luck bard, perhaps not Homer himself but the same guy who might have told the story of the Trojan War in 200 AD, or to a house packed with attentive Gauls.

In ragged clothes, on a stage that looks like a semi-abandoned rooftop construction site, Bougere embodies some 20 figures from The Iliad, from Achilles and Hector down to secondary characters.

Bougere — a nationally known actor with a raft of credits on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in film and TV (including seven different characters for the Law & Order franchise) — is great, a true shape-shifter.

But The Poet, lest we forget, is a character himself. And his interior conflict, I think, is whether he should be telling the story at all. Not that he, as The Poet, has any choice. But the subtext that drew me in was the question of whether the pleasure of telling this exciting story was worth the very real pain it contained.

The show’s climax, in a way, is The Poet’s long recitation of wars from antique to modern, including many I’m guessing most of the audience has never heard of. It seemed to go on for 10 minutes, and about halfway through, a man behind me muttered, “All right, I get it.”

But we don’t, obviously. And The Poet’s pleading final line is devastating.

Here’s Michelle Pilecki’s review of the show for CP .

An Iliad continues with eight more performances at Downtown’s O’Reilly Theater, tonight through Sun., April 6. Tickets are $15.75-55 and can be found here.

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