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Kings: The Siege of Troy

KINGS: THE SIEGE OF TROY -- Left: J. Eric Cook. Right: Dana Watkins. Photo by Lee Wexler.

"Kings: The Siege of Troy"
An Account of Homer’s Iliad by Christopher Logue
Adapted and Directed by Jim Milton
The Workshop Theater Company, 312 West 36th Street, Fourth Floor East, btwn 8th/9th Avenues.
Presented by Handcart Ensemble, Verse Theater Manhattan and WorkShop Theater Company
Runs through April 3, 2011
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM; Sundays, 3PM, $18 general admission
Box office: SMARTTIX (212) 868-4444, www.workshoptheater.org
Reviewed by Larry Litt March 12, 2011

At long last I’ve seen contemporary verse theater dynamically emerge as the dramatic storytelling art it was meant to be. Jim Milton's brilliant adaptation and direction of "Kings: The Siege of Troy" is an hour and a quarter of high action lucidly burning language and piercing acting based on the prize winning verse translation of Homer's Iliad by Sir Christopher Logue.

Athena stops Achilles from killing Agamemnon in "Kings" The Siege of Troy." Foreground: Dana Watkins, behind: J. Eric Cook. Photo by Agate Elie.

Watching and listening as vital young actors Dana Watkins and J. Eric Cook absorb, project and immediately transform into the roles of Agamemnon, Hera, Thersites, Priam, Achilles, Zeus, Odysseus, Hector and others, reminded me that theatrical storytelling is about revealing both the inner unspoken intent and the outer voice which tries desperately to make a character's desires happen.

As we watch these actors become gods we learn more about conspiratorial mythological characters personal lives without the distractions of battle scenes and period costumes. Superb acting and physical action kept me enthralled by these stories of men, battles, women as both lovers and chattel, theft, egomaniacal motivations and the interference of the Olympian gods, reveling in their divine power to create and then alter men's fates.

"Kings: The Siege of Troy" is an experience not to be missed if you love masterful acting, searing language and the power of inspired storytelling language. I’d like to think blind Homer, that creator of Greek poetry who launched these thousand ships so many years ago, smiles quite satisfied while taking pleasure in this production.

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