‘The Mariner’ Explores Associations of Home

February 1, 2003

“The Mariner,” an original piece of visual theatre inspired by Homer’s great epic poem “The Odyssey” will be presented by the Westmont College Repertory Theatre 8 p.m. Feb. 21, 27 and 28 in Porter Theatre.
There will be matinee performances at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and March 1. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $10 for general audience.

In the piece, the Mariner heads home following a period of war. Drawn by the image of his wife, Penelope, he is ultimately blown off course, and must encounter numerous enchantments, monsters, and seductions before he reaches his intended destination.

“The Mariner” is a devised piece of theatre created collaboratively by artists and students in Westmont’s Theatre Arts program. Rather than relying on a text to develop the piece, the group is using action and characters inspired by “The Odyssey” and visual images that evoke contemporary associations of home.

“This is an incredibly exciting project for us,” Director John Blondell said. “Not only are we creating an original piece of theatre in a completely collaborative fashion, but the material we are working on is rich and challenging.

“For many of us, the image of home is central to an understanding of our own identities, so the exploration of this great text becomes both intellectually demanding and personally illuminating. Furthermore, I have the opportunity to work with some of the finest artists I know, with a group of students who are as talented as they are fearless.”

To provide the primary narrative elements of the piece, the program will use several visual theatre techniques, such as symbolic action, movement, projections, and lighting. English Professor Randy VanderMey will contribute original poetry to extend and diversify the piece’s emotional and lyrical dimensions.

Also central to this project are several artists including choreographer Victoria Finlayson, costume designer Miller James and new resident designer Michael Pearce, who will provide scenic, lighting and sound designs. Student performers include Grace Chisholm, Michael Conrad, Rebecca Cousin, Anna Gibbs, Jonathan Hicks, Kate Paulsen, Beckett Poppe, Julie Salyer and Ryan Strange.

For more information, contact Blondell at (805) 565-6778 or the theatre box office at (805) 565-7040.