HOMER PREPARES, traces the Iliad through a sequence of performances:
Performance 1 (Books 1 & 2)
The Fury of Achilles – The Army Musters
Performance 2 (Books 3 & 4)
Combat and the Bedroom – The War Begins
Performance 3 (Books 5 & 6)
A Perfect Day – Women and the City
Performance 4 (Books 7–12)
Hector Beyond the Gates
Performance 5 (Books 13–16)
The Battle for the Ships
Performance 6 (Books 17–19)
Naked in Armour
Performance 7 (Books 20–22)
The Gods Abandon Hector
Performance 8 (books 23 & 24)
Each of these is available as a free-standing performance in its own right, not requiring that the audience has attended previous performances.
In each we see Homer thinking ahead about each day’s performance, highlighting the narrative choices available to him, shaping his work to grasp his audience’s attention and challenge their expectations.
The performances are set at an imagined festival on an imagined island to which people have come “from all the islands, the coastal cities, and beyond”.
James McCaughey and percussionist Matthew Horsley create an accessible, contemporary vision that captures all of Homer’s violence, humour and lyricism.
AUDIENCE FEEDBACK & REVIEWS
I felt that you were voicing – being inhabited by – both the body of singers and speakers who came before and the many exploratory performances by Homer himself that must have gone into the shaping of the whole. I didn’t mean that there was more than one author, but that you were bringing alive for us the act of composition as a mode of being and a life of practice – and this was you as well as him and them. You were there and here and taking us with you. Did you know how much you gave us then?
I reflect that I found myself engaged with each layer as a separate thread: feeling as if in ‘conversation’ with you as Homer … imagining myself somehow both as an observer of and participant in this festival as I listened to the stories that you recreated; finally reacting to the work itself. In parallel with yours was Matthew’s performance which structured and complemented … and …. comprised a richly creative parallel performance which I found myself absorbed in without it detracting from your performance. The way that you each created these complementary performances I find intriguing in itself.
The first section where Achilles refuses to fight or take action reminded me of the story of Krishna talking to Arjuna on the battlefield in the Bhagavad Gita, which is something I think about a lot. These stories still stir and provoke a powerful response in contemporary times
Oliver Ashworth Martin
This event that you have created now has its own volition – a sharing that will create its own unfolding. It is so exciting – it has gone beyond a retelling but now it is a reliving event with a group of people who are following the journey