The Iliad : Cast News
The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh has announced the full casting for its epic production of the classical Greek poem, The Iliad, directed by its Artistic Director, Mark Thomson. Olivier Award nominee Melody Grove, currently nominated for ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role’ for her critically acclaimed performance alongside Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King in London’s West End last winter, will perform in this lavish and visceral production that explores the basic human emotions of love, jealousy and revenge against the backdrop of the Trojan War. This will be Thomson’s final production, as Artistic Director, after 13 years at Scotland’s largest producing theatre. The Iliad will run from 20 April to 14 May.
Melody will perform alongside a large, ensemble cast including Jennifer Black (who last worked with Thomson on Six Black Candles), Peter Bray (Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s Globe), Emanuella Cole (who has featured on popular TV shows such as Eastenders, Doctors), Richard Conlon and Ron Donachie (both last seen at The Lyceum in The Crucible), Amiera Darwish (last seen at The Lyceum in Crime and Punishment), Ben Dilloway (Chicken, Paines Plough/ Hightide), Mark Holgate (who has featured on popular TV shows such as Coronation Street, Doctors), Reuben Johnson (who has featured on popular TV shows such as Doctor Who, Casualty), Daniel Poyser (who has featured on popular TV shows such as Waterloo Road, Coronation Street), and Ben Turner (who has featured in films such as 300: Rise of an Empire).
The Gods of Olympus take their sides and the fates of all men hang in the balance. On the battlefield of Troy the scene is set for the final conflict to claim the beautiful Helen. Only the invincible Greek warrior Achilles can tip the scales of war to glory or defeat, but humiliated by his leader Agamemnon, he is stubbornly refusing to join the fray.
The Iliad is a great tale about gods and heroes, love, jealousy and revenge and unveils the tragic and bloody climax to the 10 year siege of Troy; the darkest episode in the Trojan War. Homer’s Iliad is often credited as being one of the first known pieces of literature in Europe (dating back to approx. the 8th century BC) and the oldest human narrative about war. The themes of battle, displacement and anger are as relevant now as they were when written in ancient times.
This new version of The Iliad has been written by Scottish award-winning playwright and novelist Hannan’s previous work at The Lyceum includes Crime and Punishment (a co-production with the Citizens Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, 2013) and Elizabeth Gordon Quinn (National Theatre of Scotland, 2006). His work has also been produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Old Vic Theatre, Bush Theatre and Traverse Theatre.
Award-winning director Mark Thomson joined The Lyceum in 2003 and during his tenure he has directed over 30 productions including, in recent years, Waiting for Godot, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Union, Takin’ Over the Asylum. He won Best Director at the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland 2015 for The Caucasian Chalk Circle which also saw The Lyceum nominated for 17 awards, winning an unprecedented 6 awards for its 2014/2015 season.
Mark was previously Artistic Director of the Brunton Theatre Company from 1997 until 2002 and prior to that Assistant Director at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Royal Shakespeare Company and an Associate Director at Nottingham Playhouse.
He leads a stellar creative team that includes designer Karen Tennent (recent credits at The Lyceum include The Caucasian Chalk Circle); Lighting Designer, Simon Wilkinson (recent credits at The Lyceum include The Weir); Costume Designer, Megan Baker (recent credits at The Lyceum includeUnion) and Composer/Sound Designer, Claire McKenzie (recent credits at The Lyceum include The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
Director Mark Thomson says: “Chris Hannan’s clever adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad is fresh and classical and conjures an ancient world to engage with timeless human quandaries. A big story of war, lust and anger. Of the humans and the gods.”
Writer Chris Hannan says: “On the simplest level The Iliad is an action-packed love story set during the Trojan War, in a world crying out for forgiveness.
I was attracted to it because it feels like a story from the time when the world was young. Things are being experienced for the very first time; the grief of Achilles for Patroclus overwhelms not only him but the gods – the entire universe is turned upside down by his sense of loss.
Moral chaos in the universe. Ring a bell? “