A river that forgets its source will surely dry up.
– Nigerian Yoruba proverb
Marcus Gardley’s poetic, lyrical, Afrocentric retelling of Homer’s epic myth, The Odyssey, imaginatively blends, bends, melds and morphs time, memory, history and geography into a tasty, flavorful, theatrical gumbo of Ancient Greek and African Diasporic syncretism. Greek civilization, scholars argue, was greatly informed and inspired by Africa’s influence. Classical Greek thinkers traveled to what we now call Egypt, known then as Kemet, to expand their knowledge. Both cultures revered the spoken word.
black odyssey boston is new wine in an old bottle.
The traveling hero in this retelling journeys on the arduous path inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, variably attributed to the Greek god Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi, to Apollo himself, to the Seven Sages of Greece, and to unknown authorship: Know Thyself.
Socrates said it this way, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Chinese Taoist Philosopher Lao Tzu wrote: “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strenght; Mastering yourself is true power.”
One can know one’s importance from one’s heritage. Shining through this play’s mash-up of poetry, mythology and pop-culture are magic, fun, political indictment, honor, virtue, a glorious black love story, and the contemporized meaning of the West African Akan people’s concept of Sankofa: “remembering our past, to protect our future.”
Benny Sato Ambush
director of black odyssey boston