After a perilous journey, long-suffering Odysseus found his way home. Dropped unceremoniously in Munchkinland, Dorothy, too, traveled—or rather “eased on down”—the Yellow Brick Road and learned there’s no place like home. With this fall’s productions of The Odyssey at the High School and The Middle School Musical, The Wiz, GDS theater is enjoying its own homecoming after a few difficult years.
The High School fall show made an unrestricted return to the Blackbox Theater, showcasing the talents of sets, props, makeup, and costumes teams; technical theater, music, and management teams; and the actors, many of whom—disguised like Odysseus himself—played multiple roles. Though not wounded in a Trojan battle, an injury kept theater woman-at-arms and technical director, Christal Boyd, on the sidelines; new but familiar alumni players Becca Balton '02 and Jacob Ali-Korde '22 stepped in to support the technical crews.
Actors splashed from Calypso’s island to Ithaka, past perils at Polyphemus’s and Circe’s hands, and even down into the underworld. Backstage was just as busy as crews helped actors make rapid, complex costume changes. Mary Zimmerman’s The Odyssey left room for humor—Athena (Morgana Brand ’24) was particularly witty—even as Penelope’s suitors were murderous and, later, murdered. Avram Shapiro ’24, who was painfully good as the long-suffering (and sometimes self-pitying) Odysseus, said, “Where shall a man find sweetness to surpass his own home and his parents? …I shall not see on earth a place more dear.” Being back home in a full GDS theater was wonderful.
Returning after a three-year hiatus, the Middle School Musical The Wiz was a delightful, brightly colored show—the first ever in our new LMS Flexible Performing Arts Space. There were company dance numbers, heart-melting solos, and joke after joke. A large storybook set piece, made by students, carried the audience to Emerald City or Munchkinland, and ultimately home. The actors made us—“right from the start,” as Glinda (Natalie ’27) sang at the end of the show—“believe in the magic.” "Home is a place we all must find, child,” Natalie said. “It's not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere."
As more than 300 audience members laughed and applauded the fantastic show, it was clear the magic of Middle School theater was back. Truly, there’s no place like home.