Anyone who read in a high school Latin class the Roman version of Homer’s The Odyssey may remember the weeks of translating that it took to get through the 12,000+ lines. There are moments during the current Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s version of Mary Zimmerman’s The Odyssey when it begins to seem that the three hour, twenty minute journey home for Odysseus may once again take that long. The epic that has endured thousands of years of retelling in poems, novels, movies, and television becomes the object of this theatrical adaptation by Ms. Zimmerman (based on the translation by Robert Fitzgerald). The treatment in OSF’s outdoor Elizabethan Theatre is at times certainly grand and epic in scale and presentation; but at other times the treatment is far on the other side of the scale to become blatantly cartoonish — an effect that is inconsistent in successfully conveying the classic.
Photo by Jenny Graham