From ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy to performing at the famous Avon Theatre in Stratford, Humber Theatre grads are creating their own success stories from the stage to the screen. This semester, the graduating Theatre Performance and Theatre Production classes teamed up to present their production of To Ithaca: All that it was, is and will be that ran last week at the Humber Studio Theatre at Lakeshore campus.
“Tatiana Jennings (the director) likes to base a lot of her shows off of stories and novels that are visually stimulating,” says Jessica Bowmer, who played Cassandra in the show.
“After going through a bunch of novels with the ensemble, we settled on (the character of) Odysseus, with characters also from Trojan Women incorporated.”
Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey and set against a Blitz-like bombing campaign, To Ithaca explored the space between action and inaction, as well as violence and pity. The plot of this play follows Odysseus after a 20-year absence, only to find the war he thought was long over has now reached his homeland. Filled with a ragtag group of old friends and enemies, refugees from Troy and various mythical creatures, Odysseus finds his home and everybody in it to be huddled together under cover from heavy air raids. From this situation, both comedy and tragedy ensue, as To Ithaca incorporates mystery and suspense during an attempt to find the “intruder” in their city.
It was a taste of what Humber Theatre has to offer: A variety of talents compacted into a two-and-a-half hour show. The students have been preparing for two semesters, with the first one being mostly character-based.
Natalie Morgan, an audience member at the closing show, said “it looked and felt really professional. The acting is incredible, and this set is so elaborate, I think they really pulled it off.”
For audiences, the dreamlike ending was executed flawlessly, which is an accomplishment due to the last-minute nature of the decision.
“We didn’t come up with the ending until a few days before our dress rehearsal because we were very focused on making sense of the story,” says Bowmer. “We were trying to see what was missing in it.”
The cast and crew are currently writing diaries to reflect on their experiences.