First published on 21 Jun 2013. Updated on 24 Jun 2013.
Stork Theatre, founded in 2000, specialises in bringing literary texts with strong female characters to the stage. Their latest venture is The Penelopiad, a novella by Margaret Atwood adapted for the stage in 2007.
From Hades, Odysseus’ wife and her unfortunate maids recall their childhood in Sparta. They contemplate Penelope’s marriage to Odysseus, her deception of the suitors and the bloody slaughter at her husband's return.
"Love is not a central theme," explains director Greg Carroll. "It's about her relationship with the slave girls, the maids, who she let down badly, if only for a crucial moment. She turned away for them, overwhelmed by her husband's return, and they paid a price for that."
Penelope's life was rarely straightforward, and such responsibility weighed heavily upon her. "At a young age her father tosses her into the sea," explains Carroll, "so she learned to be quiet and learned to distrust her family as they were liable to kill her. Her husband was very good at disappearing. He was gone for 20 years and she had to run his kingdom, with his parents getting in the way, with the suitors. And she has to suppress all her urges. Odysseus is off screwing nymphs, but she'll get her throat cut if she strays."
Greg Carroll has worked many years with Stork Theatre, directing their acclaimed production of Stendhal's The Red and the Black. He'll be joined by long-time collaborator Peter Corrigan, a set designer and award-winning architect and artist.
The cast includes Carolyn Bock as Penelope.
Read Time Out's review
Sign up to our monthly arts newsletter