When Odysseus meets Hecuba

Jan DeGrass/Arts and Entertainment Writer / Staff writer
February 1, 2013 01:00 AM

Gibsons actor Mac Dodge portrays Odysseus in the United Players production at the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver.

Gibsons actor Mac Dodge, last seen performing in Driftwood Players' production of Mending Fences, has a new role as the wily politician Odysseus in Hecuba. This commissioned version, an adaptation by Nicholas Kilmer, is from an original story by the Greek Euripides, and it is now playing at the Jericho Arts Centre in Vancouver presented by United Players.

"I thought it would be a challenge and a change," Dodge said, who has performed minor roles in Vancouver before in his son's theatre troupe, Boca del Lupo, and is an Equity actor through his involvement with Carousel Players for children.

"Hecuba is performed in a classical acting style, in one monologue after another with characters representing the story and the issues, such as the fall of Troy and how we honour our heroes," he said.

The fallen queen Hecuba (played by Joan Bryans) was one of the world's most powerful rulers of the world's most wealthy, prosperous and cultured state, but she is now homeless, destitute and a prisoner of war. With only her fellow female captives to help her, Hecuba battles for justice. She seeks revenge, and Dodge said it's at that point that the audience sits up and pays attention because they are firmly on Hecuba's side.

"It's intense, though you might laugh once in a while," he said.

Hecuba is directed byCharles Siegel with original music and musical direction byDaniel Marshall. One of the production managers, Fran Burnside, has also called Gibsons home.

The set is simple -a circle of sand - and the cast wears contemporary costumes, which Dodge feels might help to make it more accessible to modern audiences. He is dressed in combat fatigues that makes him feel like General Schwarzkopf, he reports.

Dodge also liked the size and feel of the troupe of United Players who use the Jericho Arts Centre for their shows as it reminded him of a similar arrangement between Driftwood Players and the Heritage Playhouse.

The show runs Thurs-days to Sundays until Feb. 17 with performances at 8 p.m., and on Feb. 17 United Players offers a 2 p.m. matinée making it possible for Coast residents to visit for the day. The Jericho Arts Centre is at 1675 Discovery, Vancouver, and tickets are $16 to $20 available at the door. For reservations and information, phone1-604-224-8007, ext. 2,or visitwww.unitedplayers.com.

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