The Penelopiad by feminist icon Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale. In this remarkable retelling of The Odyssey, Atwood transforms both the power and the politics of the classic tale by shifting the point of view to Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, and of her twelve faithful maids unjustly hanged by the returning “hero.” It takes place in Hades, where these thirteen spirits are trapped for all eternity, telling and retelling their story like angry furies, unable to find redress for what they suffered at male hands. While her husband Odysseus is off fighting pointless wars—for the sake of her beautiful, shameless, aggravating cousin Helen—dallying with nymphs and sirens, and playing the hero, Penelope is holding the kingdom together. All alone, with nothing but her wits, toughness, and strength to rely on, she has to raise her rebellious son, face down dangerous rumors, and keep more than a hundred lustful, brutal suitors at bay. When twenty years later the “hero” finally returns there is indeed hell to pay—but it is her twelve faithful maids who pay the tragic price, leaving Penelope in a torment of grief and guilt. Atwood gives Penelope a modern voice, witty, pragmatic, yet still filled with pain as she gets to tell her own story at last, and set the record straight.
Written by: Margaret Atwood
Directed by: Frederique Michel
2022, City Garage Theatre, United States
THE PENELOPIAD CONTAINS MATERIAL FOR ADULT AUDIENCES INCLUDING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT LANGUAGE AND NUDITY. DISCRETION REQUIRED | FOR AGES 16+
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This post was written by Written by Margaret Atwood, Directed by Frederique Michel, City Garage Theatre (2022), United States.
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