This October, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, an ancient tale comes roaring back to life in a compelling new telling filled with contemporary wit and wisdom. The clash of swords and shields, the broken hearts and broken oaths, the bonds of friendship and family – An Iliad arises on a bare stage, told by an old man who's seen too much. Two-time Obie Award-winner Lisa Peterson directs a stunning show that stars Henry Woronicz, who masterfully captures the grief and glory of the battle for Troy. Presented on the intimate Thrust Stage, the script by Peterson and Tony Award-winner Denis O'Hare is adapted from Robert Fagles' translation of the original. Homer removes his armor on behalf of all humanity and reveals the truth within each of us. A hawk, a dove… An Iliad races through time to become indelibly relevant today.
A co-production with La Jolla Playhouse, An Iliad starts previews in Berkeley on October 12, opens October 17, and runs through November 11, 2012. The executive producer of the local run is Guy Tiphane. The season producers are Wayne Jordan and Quinn Delaney, Marjorie Randolph, Jack and Betty Schafer, and the Strauch Kulhanjian Family. For the eighth straight year, BART and Wells Fargo serve as the official sponsors of Berkeley Rep's season.
"Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare have given us a bold new take on the Iliad," says Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. "Their Homer is an empath: he experiences the war as much as anyone he is describing in his story. The result is a searing and brilliant critique of our addiction to conflict. It requires an actor of extraordinary skill with language, heart, and intellect, and I am pleased and honored to present the amazing Henry Woronicz to our audience."
Henry Woronicz (The Poet) has acted and directed at numerous regional theatres, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Players Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Boston Shakespeare Company, Centerstage, Delaware Theatre Company, the Hong Kong Repertory Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Meadow Brook Theatre, Syracuse Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and the Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah Shakespeare Festivals. On Broadway, he performed in Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, and he last appeared at Berkeley Rep in The Playboy of the Western World. Woronicz was a resident actor and director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival from 1984 to 1991 and its artistic director from 1991 to 1995; from 2008 to 2009 he was executive producer of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. He was also the head of the MFA acting program at Illinois State University from 2009 to 2012. His TV credits include Ally McBeal, Cheers, Law & Order, Pickett Fences, Seinfeld, Star Trek, and Third Rock from the Sun.
Lisa Peterson (director and co-adaptor) previously directed Antony and Cleopatra, The Fall, and Mother Courage at Berkeley Rep. She earned an Obie Award for An Iliad, which also won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show. Her other credits at New York Theatre Workshop include Bexley, OH; Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Obie Award); Slavs!; Traps; and The Waves. Additional off-Broadway credits include Birdy and The Chemistry of Change at Women's Project; Collected Stories at Manhattan Theatre Club; End Days at the Ensemble Studio Theatre; The Model Apartment and Shipwrecked at Primary Stages; The Poor Itch, The Square, and Tongue of a Bird at The Public Theatre; The Scarlet Letter at Classic Stage Company; Sue?o at MCC; and Tight Embrace at Intar. Her regional work includes productions at ATL, Arena Stage, California Shakespeare Theater, Centerstage, Dallas Theater Center, the Guthrie Theatre, Hartford Stage, the Huntington Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, LJP, Long Wharf Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum (resident director, 1995 to 2005), McCarter Theatre Center, Midwest Playlabs, New York Stage & Film, O'Neill Playwrights Conference, OSF, Philadelphia Theater Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Sundance Theater Lab, and Yale Repertory Theatre.