Five years after La Jolla Playhouse staged Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s exhausting An Iliad, New Village Arts in Carlsbad is taking a crack at it under the direction of Jacole Kitchen, who assistant-directed two productions at the Playhouse last year. At NVA, Linda Libby is The Poet, a role usually played by a man in An Iliad. (An accompanying double-bass player, in this case Gunnar Biggs, is the only other performer on stage.) Like the Poets before her, Libby breathlessly recounts and re-enacts the blood and guts of the Trojan War, integrating into the 90 or so minutes fatalistic insight into all the world’s wars since. An Iliad, an adaptation of Homer’s epic, unfolds like a grim ancient-history class. At NVA, “Professor” Libby stammers a little but makes her point: war is hell.
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.