Director and playwright Brandon Monokian, and actress Kaitlin Overton will lead rising seventh, eighth, and ninth graders and up in a workshop at the Princeton Public Library towards the end of this month. Students will read from Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka, a contemporary play based on Homer’s The Odyssey, which is about a young refugee by the name of Anon who meets a broad range of people as he traveles throughout the U.S. in search of his family.
All of Naomi Iizuka’s plays are full of rich, poetic language, and while “Homer’s Odyssey” is a classic, “Anon(ymous)” offers a raw and modern adaptation that is pertinent to youth across the United States. Not only does it create lush imagery for the reader and viewer, but it is so electric and real that it puts the classic tale in today’s shoes and lets a younger audience in on what it’s all about. – Kaitlin Overton
The Odyssey is part of the English department’s curriculum at Princeton High School. This will be an innovative approach to the literature, and give students an advantage when the ninth graders enter the classroom in September, and give the middle schoolers a head start.
“I hope Princeton students find it to be a really animated alternative to simply reading the book by bringing its themes and ideas to life on stage. I myself am a very visual learner, and the arts have always been a great way for me to grasp information”, says Brandon Monokian.
The workshop will begin on Monday, August 19th from 10 AM – 1 PM, and continue until Friday the 23rd, concluding with two open performances by the students in the Community Room that day at 2 PM and 6 PM. Enrollment is for a maximum of 25, and participants are required to attend the entire week.
Monokian explains “I think students will discover new ways of learning, as well as see that although the original text was written a long time ago its themes and content are still extremely relevant today.” Overton adds “I am really excited for this process and I am glad I get to share it with new people who I know will teach me some new things about literature as well. I’m really looking forward to what the students have to offer and how they will work together to present a final piece of a really great play. “
This program is part of the Page to Stage series, and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. You can sign up here. Below is a video taken of the series last summer at the library.