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The student news site of Cedarburg High School

Common Sense

the student newspaper site of Cedarburg High School, Cedarburg, Wisconsin

The student news site of Cedarburg High School

Common Sense

The student news site of Cedarburg High School

Common Sense

Cast, crew of fall play display ‘bold scenes, stellar acting’

Ellie Lisiecki
Odysseus (junior Sam Neill) kills a suitor (senior Sarah Gleed) in “The Odyssey: A Play.” Reference photo credit to Deni Storm. Drawn by Ellie Lisiecki.

This month’s performances of “The Odyssey: A Play” were chock-full of bold scenes and stellar acting. 

Directed by English teacher Kristen Mickie, the show follows Odysseus (junior Sam Neill), an ancient Greek king and soldier, as he encounters perilous obstacles on his way home after the Trojan War. After daring escapes, cunning schemes and numerous flings over the course of many years, Odysseus makes it back to his family, Telemachus (junior Robbie Thao) and Penelope (junior Josie Witte). 

Senior Allison Springer introduces the show by reading an excerpt of “The Odyssey” before being swept into the story as a Muse (junior Lucia Sammarco), turning into the goddess Athena. 

Enter stage right: Odysseus comically shambles onto stage, notably attached to a rope pulled by Calypso (junior Izzy Hilgendorf) as run crew members use satin fabric to imitate a beachy wave. Neill did an excellent job at portraying the flawed hero’s clever yet rash nature in his full-length theater debut.

An intense scene from act one is the blinding of Cyclops (senior Brady Holzer) by Odysseus and his crew, anguished screams echoing from his silhouette behind a screen. 

The expectation-defying siren scene had such a strong impact on the audience that it caused an uproar of applause midplay. 

The performances of some minor characters also stood out to us: Circe (senior Ruby Holtgrieve), a seductive enchantress who turns men into animals, Elpenor (sophomore Jilian Wilde), a young sailor who meets a tragic end on Circe’s island and Hermes (junior Keaton Blake), who serves as comic relief by scootering across the stage while listening to music on a Walkman.

The emotional and enjoyable storytelling flowed throughout act two, when Odysseus finally returned to his homeland after being presumed dead. In a tender moment, Odysseus and Telemachus reunite as father and son. Thao’s realistic fake crying truly set the emotional tone of the scene. 

Toward the end of the play, the pair slaughter a slew of suitors who had been vying for Penelope’s hand since Odysseus’s absence. After being framed as a pack of disrespectful, callous men, we won’t deny that their deaths were rather fun to watch. The bold posing of the suitors and dramatic spotlighting, reminiscent of visual effects in Hamilton, combined with the slow-motion style of acting created a sense of satisfying finality. 

While the music was sometimes distracting, the execution of technical effects was strong overall and complemented the sleek, raked stage. The use of shadows and screens for the Cyclops and the underworld scenes was unique, and so was the crafting of a giant Scylla puppet with several heads. The usage of a fog machine when Odysseus entered the underworld showcased the creative flair of the production team. 

We are proud of our classmates and respect their hard work. Their dedication to the play does not go unnoticed, and we are excited to see what they have in store next.

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