4th Graders Perform Greek Play, The Odyssey, Virtually

The play must go on! 

New Canaan Country School fourth graders kept a long-standing tradition alive, performing the annual Greek play, The Odyssey, June 4, using a variety of creative solutions. A much beloved rite of passage, the play culminates their grade-wide study of ancient Greece, Greek mythology and The Odyssey. 
“Like everyone, I played multiple characters, but Odysseus was definitely the most difficult of mine and my favorite,” said fourth grader Sam Peake of New Canaan. “The play is the story of the homecoming journey of Odysseus. He was the brave and young king of an island called Ithaca, who had been off fighting a major war. The story we tell is of his long and difficult odyssey to return home.”

This year, undaunted by distance, Grade 4 Teachers John Hastings, Kristin Quisgard and Maria Sette were able to re-imagine the play as virtual theater. Students dressed in costumes of white t-shirts, faux armor and togas; used props and headpieces - including large heart-shaped glasses for Aphrodite, a third eye for Cyclops and a trident for Poseidon - and listened for their cues. Constantly changing Zoom backgrounds including the Theater of Dionysus, the backyard of a palace, the island of the lotus-bearing sirens, Odysseus's ship, Pos’s ocean kingdom and the cloud-filled home of the gods, provided scenery to set the stage. Music, lightning and claps of thunder were among the sound effects provided to heighten the drama.

The opening poem was performed one line at a time, enabling all to participate collectively before breaking out into individual characters and roles.
“The creativity and resilience of the students was amazing,” said Mr. Hastings. “They rose to the challenge like true Greek orators of old.”