The odyssey

Thames, London 1982

The odyssey

Thames, London 1982

Homer’s Odyssey is one of the oldest written texts, and the most lively myth of any mythology. Lech Majewski stages his vision of the eternal epic on a barge sailing with the audience on the river Thames. Produced by Shivaun O’Casey (daughter of the Irish playwright, Sean O’Casey) to much attention and acclaim the show has, among its backers, Samuel Beckett.

Uniquely, the dramatic voyage depends on the phases of the Moon since its pull raises the level of the Thames thirty feet twice a day. The ebb and flow chart printed on tickets marks the different starting time of each performance.

One evening, when Odysseus passes the gardens of Parliament on his boat, interference from his radio-mike makes Margaret Thatcher address a gathering of foreign diplomats at the garden party with the man’s voice, speaking about Circe changing men into swine.

Harold Prince, the legendary Broadway producer of Cabaret and Fiddler On The Roof, attempts to bring the performance to the Hudson River, but the cost of staging The Odyssey in New York on the Ellis, Liberty and Governor’s Islands is so high that to recoup its cost, Odysseus would have to perform on a boat seating two thousand spectators. The unique show is planned for the Museumsinsel in Berlin and Arsenale in Venice as well.

text Homer dramatised & directed by Lech Majewski sets Philippe Cherbonnier costumes Pamela Howard light Rory Dempster produced by Shivaun O’Casey

with Malcolm Ingram, Maya Sendall, Sef Townsend, Robby Nelson, James Neale-Kennerley, Neil Stainton, Gillian Barge, Bill Simpson, Timothy Sinclair, Graham Lines, Sean Murphy, Simon Finney, Jenny Killick, Ally Kessler


“An epic of imagination! One of the London’s most spectacular dramatic events!”
The Guardian

“The simple, compelling recitation of the opening of the Odyssey, stylized with gestures to heighten the language, is potent theatre. The conversations with the dead are similarly hypnothic, made more seductive by the rocking of the boat in the river and by the powerful simplicity of the design.”
Ned Chaillet, The Times

“An extraordinary theatrical production!”
The Standart

“Enviromental theather marches on Thames!”
Dan Sullivan, Los Angeles Times