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Ithaka

PENELOPE BASS
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, 2 pm Sundays through June 30., Thursday June 27 | $25-$50.
Artists Repertory Theatre
1515 SW Morrison St.
 
When home is a destination in your mind as much as a physical space, it’s an arduous journey to overcome the obstacles that hinder your arrival. After fighting the Trojan War for 10 years, it took Odysseus another 10 years to reach his home in Ithaca. For Marine Capt. Elaine Edwards (Dana Millican), returning home from her latest tour in Afghanistan, the forces keeping her at bay are her own haunted memories. Ithaka, a new original work by Portland playwright Andrea Stolowitz and nimbly directed by Gemma Whelan, follows Lanie’s trek through the Nevada desert and her own disturbingly populated subconscious. Though she arrived home to her husband more than a week ago, her real life no longer feels real. She’s baffled by the people who smile through mundane activities such as shopping. “Was I ever that happy doing this bullshit?” she wonders. Millican embodies a woman both strong and broken: Lanie blows up at her husband and can’t forgive herself for letting out the cat. Tackling the topic of war can be tricky, rife with potential for often-heard indictments or for sweeping patriotic grandeur. But Stolowitz has said she didn’t set out to write a play about soldiers or even war in general; she wanted to write about friendship and what happens when those bonds are lost. Her stripped-down approach results in a story about guilt, loss and finding a way back home. Rather than wallow in the maudlin, the punchy dialogue and dark laughs push the show at a solid clip. Regardless of any experience with the military or the realities of war, it’s not hard to sympathize with Lanie’s pain as she undertakes her own odyssey toward home, peace and Ithaca.

Where: Artists Repertory Theatre
Phone: 241-1278
Address: 1515 SW Morrison St.
Website: http://www.artistsrep.org/onstage/201213-season/ithaka.aspx

 
 
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