Two rehearsals before opening night of “The Iliad, the Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less” and the students are running their lines. They’re gathered at tables in the John Jay Middle School cafeteria; perhaps self-sorted as gods, goddesses, and mortals. No one is stressed.
“I play Iphigenia, a princess. I get thrown off a ship because my father shot someone’s favorite deer,” said Kiera, an eighth grader.
“I play Iris, goddess of the rainbow, and Priam, King of Troy,” said Sofia, a seventh grader. “I thought this play would be fun, and it is.”
“I knew a bit about Greek mythology before this play—the Iliad, the Odyssey, Cyclops and stuff,” said Jason, an eighth grader. “We studied it in sixth grade. I play Pyramus and Agamemnon—both of these are new to me—and Hercules. Spoiler alert! All of my characters die.”
“The Iliad, the Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less” is a sprint through Greek mythology. It’s campy, kooky, and cultural. Students absorb information about the geographic, political, economic, social, and religious structures of the civilizations of Ancient Greece, and make clear-cut connections to works of literature like “The Odyssey” that are already a part of the core school curriculum.