If all 24 books of Homer’s Iliad were to be read aloud from start to finish, it would take about 24 hours to complete. This is exactly what the University of Chicago’s Classical Entertainment Society has set out to do this weekend in promotion of Court Theatre’s upcoming play, An Iliad.
The reading begins at 8 p.m. this Sunday on Court Theatre’s stage and will run through Monday evening until every last word has been read. Called a “Homerathon” for obvious reasons, the event will feature several high-profile professors from the University of Chicago, including Classics professors David Wray, Alain Bresson, Clifford Ando, and Sarah Nooter, English professor Christina Von Nolcken, and Philosophy professor Agnes Callard.
“We’ve invited readers to read in any language or translation they choose,” said Court Theatre’s resident dramaturg Drew Dir. “One of the faculty members, for example, is reading…a translation by 18th-century English poet Alexander Pope. We’ve also invited participants to read it in the original ancient Greek, which many here at the University of Chicago are more than prepared to do.”
Throughout the event, various activities and movie screenings will also take place in the lobby. Movies to be featured include (but are not limited to): Troy, Helen of Troy, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Clash of the Titans, and 300. Attendees will be able to try their hand at crafting Greek vases, shields, mini Trojan horses, and clothespin gods. Refreshments will also be provided throughout the 24 hours.
“Students can come to Court Theatre at any point during the 24 hours to listen to the reading….Students are also welcome to sign up to read available passages when they arrive if they didn’t reserve a reading in advance,” said Court Theatre’s assistant director of marketing, Kate Vangeloff.
The reading will take place on the set of Court’s upcoming production, An Iliad, which is set to premier Saturday, November 19. Directed by artistic director Charles Newell, the modern, one-man adaptation of Homer’s classic revisits the voice of the lone poet as he recounts a story of human loss and folly that resonates across three millennia.