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  Greek culture gave birth to The Odyssey, the story that “founded” nostalgia: Odysseus, the storyteller of his own adventures and flaws, has fought for ten years in Trojan War against his will. Trying to go back home, he was made hostage by the Sea for a decade more. In 2018, Cia. Hiato also completes a decade as a theater collective in São Paulo, Brazil. ODISSEIA is based on Homer’s narrative and associated with personal experiences of the actors (following and subverting the research developed by the group so far). It is the arrival point of a long journey back; a desire of homecoming; a simple and human tale told through a complex structure; but mainly it is an attempt to think of ourselves as ancient fragments of a future archeology.

    Homer’s poem is about a complicated man. That man plots his return home, slaughters the suitors vying to marry his wife, and reestablishes himself as the head of his household. However, the poem’s protagonist Odysseus is absent in the play. The audience is the one who takes this absent role. So the audience is a foreign guest listening to contemporary stories, is a migrant. But audience might also be a political and military leader, a strategist, a poet, a loving husband and father, and adulterer, a homeless person, an athlete, a disabled cripple, a soldier with a traumatic past, a pirate, a thief and liar, a fugitive, a colonial invader, a home owner, a sailor, a construction worker, a mass murderer, or a war hero.

    Cia. Hiato’s ODISSEIA is primarily about other people. The group divided the poem in seven investigations that correspond to a certain character in the Odyssey: Telemachus, his abandoned son; Penelope, his waiting wife; the nymph Calypso, who offered him her immortality and endless love; the witch Circe, who guided him until the world of the dead; Odysseus’s many shipmates who died before they could make it home; the countless slaves in Odysseus’s house, many of whom are never named; the goddess Athena, who architected a war on his behalf. Different characters and actors tell their own inset and personal stories – some true, some false, dreams, memories and doubts. Similar to the poem, the play weaves and unweaves a multilayered narrative that is both simple and artful in its patterning and composition. Immersing ourselves in the stories we tell may help us reconsider both the origins of Western literature and our infinitely complex contemporary world – the plight of a people who have forgotten their myths and must remember that all we have here is all that we’ve always had. We are still mythical.

    Grasping the small, tragi-comical details of modern day life intertwined with the Greek Ancient way of dealing with the human condition the experience of Cia Hiato’s ODISSEIA is an intimate sharing between actors and audience of powerful feelings as love, sadness and anger. A mix between an interactive experiment and a theatrical play. No boundaries between ordinary life and mythology. Actors and audience build together a play that tries to answer: what are the stories we tell? Why do we tell them? Who are you when our eyes turn to you? Who will we see if we look at it? How many absences are we able to live with? What ghosts are with us? What ideas or utopias have disappeared from your life? What wars do we survive? Where is it impossible to return?