Thistle, Louise. The Odyssey. Smith and Kraus, 2002. ISBN 1575252937. Non-royalty if used in an educational setting. 19 pp. Reviewer: Elizabeth Moss Reading Level: Primary; Intermediate; Rating: Excellent Genre: Folklore; Plays; Historical Plays; Adventure Plays; Subject: Drama--Reviews; Odysseus (Greek mythology) in literature--Juvenile drama; Theme: Trust in the gods and your own strength Production Requirements: Incredibly simple costumes, props, and set Acts: 1 Run Time: 30 min. Characters: Up to 35 Cast: Children Time Period: Ancient Greece Odysseus and his sailors become lost on their voyage home. On their journey, they encounter many snares and traps. The adventures told in this play are the Witch Circe, the Sirens, the Scylla, and the Charybdis. When Odysseus returns home to Ithaca, his wife is being persued by suitors who are ruining the house and lands. Athena disguises Odysseus as a beggar. In this disguise, Odysseus manages to rid the house of his wife's suitors and is reunited with his wife and son. This play is the perfect size for a classroom. There are various roles with different levels of performance, yet all the actors are involved throughout the play. There is very little line memorization and it is suggested that the chorus read from the scripts. The props and costumes are very simplistic. This whole play could be introduced, cast, rehearsed, and performed in two weeks with an hour rehearsal five days a week. The acting style is presented as very stylized with overt gestures. The characters in the play are flat and for the most part uninteresting and without motivation. Though this fits in with the stylized techniques being used, the characters remain unsatisfying. The dialogue is obvious and redundant, which helps in the memorizing, but not for the audience members sitting through it. However, this would be a good play to use in an elementary school classroom to teach the children the rudimentary lessons of Greek mythology and give the students something to be excited about.
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