Broward-Palm Beach New Times Awards Outré’s An Iliad Best Solo Show!
For its first full-length-play production, emerging Mizner Park company Outre chose a work that was both minimalist (in its cast and production requirements) and maximalist (in its broad thematic umbrella). A modern retelling of Homer’s similarly named epic poem, An Iliad dramatized the narrative of the Trojan War through the eyes of a road-weary itinerant storyteller, played by Avi Hoffman. Slinging an occasional guitar and swilling the more-than-occasional guzzle of booze, Hoffman broke many a fourth wall while colloquially inhabiting Agamemnon, Achilles, Petroclus, Hermes, and the rest of them in an exhausting exercise running more than 90 minutes. Set designer Sean McClelland provided him with a morbid playground — a bombed-out, multitiered war zone that bridged the gap between battles past and present, which is the ultimate message behind the play’s antiwar monologue. Stefanie Howard’s lighting design proved equally instrumental in creating the show’s electric atmosphere, and ditto for Danny Butler’s soundscape, which merged ancient sword-and-sandals sound effects with present-day war reports. This may be remembered as Hoffman’s finest hour, not to mention an artistic breakthrough for Outre; I dare say Homer has never been this engaging.