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January 3, 2019 - February 3, 2019

black odyssey

By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Jude Sandy and Joe Wilson, Jr.

After Ulysses Lincoln is lost at sea and presumed dead, the Gulf War veteran struggles to find his way back home to his wife and son while unknowingly being controlled by a host of gods — both scheming and benevolent. Along the way, he must confront his ancestral past so that he can embrace his unsettled present. His journey is an epic, breathtaking, and gloriously theatrical reimagining of Homer’s classic that brilliantly combines Greek mythology and African-American history of the last fifty years.

Best seats and prices available early. 

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Buzz
"... funny, yet poignant, imaginative, yet rooted in history. I urge you not to miss this fabulous play."
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Spoiler Alert!

Synopsis

Below is a synopsis of the show. You've been warned.

Ulysses Lincoln wants a better life for his family. He loves his wife, Nella Pell, and their unborn child so he decides to join the navy to help provide a better life for them. He is almost immediately deployed to Afghanistan and during the Gulf War he shoots and kills a son of Great Grand Paw Sidin, the God of Sea and King of Fish. Paw Sidin is furious at this loss and tries to attack Ulysses and kill him by drowning him when Great Grand Daddy Dues (God of Gods, God of the Sky), steps in based on the plea of his daughter and Goddess, Aunt Tina.

The two gods start a game of chess to battle for the life of Ulysses. This epic chess battle rips Ulysses from the fabric of time and sends him spiraling into the past to confront just exactly who he is, all while leaving the present – and his family – behind. Nella Pell is told that Ulysses is dead, but she refuses to believe it. With Paw Sidin constantly trying to trick her into giving up on Ulysses or to stop caring for him, Nella Pell has it rough. She stands strong, and her love for her husband does not waiver. Out of care for Ulysses, Aunt Tina comes to the mortal world to aid Nella Pell in raising her and Ulysses’ child, Malachai. Before they know it, thirteen years have passed and Nella Pell still has not given up hope that Ulysses will return.

Meanwhile, Ulysses is stuck as a pawn in the game of chess. He finds himself in many different places throughout time, including slave quarters, and eventually, he is stuck on the roof of a house that has flooded in the 1960s with a family of a mother, father, and daughter – all who cannot swim. There is no hope in sight for rescue and Ulysses begins to reflect upon his journey and what has happened. He thinks on his love for Nella Pell and his son that he has yet to meet when he decides to swim for it, accompanied by Benevolence, the child on the roof of the house he’s on. He tells her about the war that he was in and Benevolence listens intently. Ulysses suddenly realizes he must confront the one thing that he has been avoiding, the death of the man that he killed in Afghanistan. He asserts that it was an accident and that he was threatened by the person that he killed. Paw Sidin is furious that he is losing the game of chess against Dues and that Ulysses keeps escaping death, so he decides to go to the mortal world to try and intervene.

Nella Pell begins to doubt herself when Malachai begins acting out. She believes that if he had just had a father, he would not be behaving the way that he is. She begins to date a suitor named Johnny, who is actually Paw Sidin in disguise, and he tries to convince her that they should wed – and the faster the better. Aunt Tina (now going by Aunt Tee) tries to interject but being in mortal form for so long is killing her. Her mortal body gives up and she dies, leaving Nella Pell, Malachai, and Ulysses alone.

Ulysses and Benevolence are confronted by a police officer about who they are and Ulysses tries to explain that he is trying to save the little girl from the flooding. Benevolence explains that the officer cannot see her, but reveals who she truly is to Ulysses – his own mother who died in childbirth. She guides him back toward the present and Ulysses is thrown in jail.

At the same time, Ulysses’ son Malachai finds himself in a situation when he is confronted by the police, too. He is arrested and stuck in a jail cell – the exact same one that his father is in. Ulysses and Malachai sit side-by-side when a police officer explains to Ulysses that the kid next to him is, in fact, his son. The officer takes off his hat to reveal that he is Paw Sidin. Angry that he was going to lose the game of chess – which would allow Ulysses to live – Paw Sidin explains that he will keep his son in jail and that he will be marrying Nella Pell that upcoming weekend, ruining both of their lives. Paw Sidin explains that this is all because of the death of his son in Afghanistan, and Ulysses breaks down and admits that the killing was all his fault and that he had murdered Paw Sidin’s son out of fear.

Ulysses is suddenly left to face the God and find his family without the protection of Dues or Aunt Tina. Ulysses must face his truth. Will that be enough to satisfy the God and help Ulysses get back to his family?

Community Partners

Cast & Creative

Cast
Joe Wilson, Jr.
Ulysses Lincoln

Creative

Kent Gash
Director

Sponsors

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