Programming / Poetry

The Odyssey is no longer a classic, it is a monument, a natural world wonder, so wonderful, so classic, so natural and so worldly that nobody reads it anymore because we all feel we know it.
Dare to tell me that this is not true?

The Odyssey, then, then… let’s see: Odysseus – ah yes, the mermaids, how did he get the mermaids? And then the magician, what was her name? Isn’t there a Cyclops story in there? It took him a long time to get back, didn’t it? Didn’t his wife make a carpet that she unraveled every day?
That’s it – some might add a few other adventures.
They will tell you about the Greek gods that flooded the world – and are still around in almost every epic video game.
And then that will be it – we’re not talking about a world monument – it’s a given.

As for putting The Odyssey on a stage, this is a stupid idea that can turn very, very quickly to the most appalling kitsch.

No, no, this is a very bad idea that I must hurry to throw in the trash.

Well… wait – what to avoid is fairly obvious.
You can’t put the whole Odyssey on a stage – & I’m just talking about the story.
You can’t do kitsch – it’s been done before, it’s enough as it is.
So what ? What ? …. what “what” ???? what what what -ouat ouat ouat ? but ? ouat are you writing, are you okay ?

Hey, obviously there is a “what” – of course, there is a “what” !
Let’s go back to the source.
The Odyssey is not a video game. It is not a cartoon. It was never a movie. Nobody has illustrated this text for centuries.

No, no, it’s more simple : The Odyssey is a man who lands in the middle of other men and tells a story.

Don’t tell me it doesn’t work, it created this world monument that NO ONE reads anymore because we think we know it.
The Odyssey is the most beautiful epic poetry in the world.
The Odyssey is not chapters or parts, it is songs – those who tried to translate it could not miss this strangeness of translation: a song? what do you mean by a song? But yes, Miss, a song –

My show is here.
If Altair ever exists, it will exist as a kind of bully in the hushed and very chic world of live performance, a bully that breaks everything – an epic bully.
It takes less than an uneducated bully to take Homer at his word, in our 21st century, and revive the Odyssey at its source: yes, Altair, this epic theatre, will propose the Odyssey, this epic monument.
And Altair will have the supreme luxury of not overdoing it – men, women: male and female voices – music, Homer’s words and us, the audience.

That, if we can do it in the open air, without all the fuss of the stage, with people sitting as they want, the wind bringing you more or less sound, more or less voice, more or less music – then it will be an unforgettable show –
and you will see, through the words of Homer, the monsters of the sea, and Charybdis and Scylla.

Next we began to sail up the narrow strait lamenting. For on the one hand lay Scylla, and on the other mighty Charybdis in terrible wise sucked down the salt sea water. As often as she belched it forth, like a cauldron on a great fire she would seethe up through all her troubled deeps, and overhead the spray fell on the tops of either cliff. But oft as she gulped down the salt sea water, within she was all plain to see through her troubled deeps, and the rock around roared horribly and beneath the earth was manifest swart with sand, and pale fear gat hold on my men. Toward her, then, we looked fearing destruction; but Scylla meanwhile caught from out my hollow ship six of my company, the hardiest of their hands and the chief in might. And looking into the swift ship to find my men, even then I marked their feet and hands as they were lifted on high, and they cried aloud in their agony, and called me by my name for that last time of all. Even as when a fisher on some head-land lets down with a long rod his baits for a snare to the little fishes below, casting into the deep the horn of an ox of the homestead, and as he catches each flings it writhing ashore, so writhing were they borne upward to the cliff. And there she devoured them shrieking in her gates, they stretching forth their hands to me in the dread death-struggle. And the most pitiful thing was this that mine eyes have seen of all my travail in searching out the paths of the sea.

Then to: “what” – I answer : let’s do as they did, when they invented this text, when they listened to it, when they talked about it to their neighbors coming back from the agora.

Let’s listen to these songs – spoken – sung – if we need a campfire to warm up the atmosphere, it’s because Altair won’t be in Dubai – but let’s let the magic happen when it doesn’t need anyone to act.
Yes, it does – it needs voices.
That’s good: actors, in general, have very good voices.

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Featured Image : Mediterranean coast by stormy weather, oil on canvas, by Henry d’Arles – 1756

49 Thoughts

              1. Yes I noticed, the English have kept the sound as close as possible to the original. In France, impossible, of course we had to rename all the proper names and so the word Odyssey took on the meaning of a major initiatory journey – and no longer refers to the character at all.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I understand what you’re saying. The French are not far away, though, from the reality of his life, the adventure of his!

                  The greeks use the same word to describe someone’s difficult life : Οδύσσεια = Odyssey

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. 🙂 and here is a little more knowledge for me – with the statue of Ithaca – I would love to see this island! The one that led Odysseus to turn into a ploughman!!! I remember being scandalized by this trick when I was a kid: a hero is a hero. He doesn’t dress up and hide behind an oxcart! 😀

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Yes! Thank you!

                      Ps : The island is beautiful and peaceful, full of green. It is next to Kefalonia (or Cephalonia). About 20 minutes away.
                      Beautiful crystal clear sea-waters!

                      I love the Ionian Sea. Much more different than the Aegean. I’ll try to find some pictures from my personal archive to send you. But i think there is an artcle of mine. Let me take a look, dear!.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Thank you! So I’ll have to go to Ithaca one day – in the footsteps of the clever and cunning hero, in love with his island, his wife and his people.
                      I don’t know this sea, I was able to swim in the Aegean Sea, facing the island of Lesbos – it is beautiful but cold this Mediterranean water there.
                      If you want, we can exchange: I’ll lend you the Gulf of Lion, our real anchovies (I haven’t forgotten), our delicious wines, our flat peaches and our olives, and I’ll try Ithaca and the Ionian Sea! 😀

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. ❤ you really are a wonderful friend ! 🙂 – let's move on to technical questions: I never receive notifications from your new site, I don't understand how this happens. It doesn't appear in the Reader either – I don't understand

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