ITHAKA

3w/2m, flexible set, 80 minutes, no intermission

US Marine Captain Elaine Edwards has just returned from her latest tour in Afghanistan but this time things are different; home doesn’t feel right and nothing makes sense. After a blow up fight with her husband propels her to skip town, she undertakes an Odyssean journey through the American landscape battling her monsters, trying to find her way home.

“Stolowitz’ writing feels honest and authentic in its details of military life, but more importantly in its evocation of the profound — if sometimes goofy — joys of friendship,and in its musings about war and society, attachment and loss, life and death.”
Marty Hughley, The Oregonian

“Tackling the topic of war can be tricky ground, rife with potential for often-heard indictments or for sweeping patriotic grandeur… [Stolowitz’] stripped-down approach creates a more personal journey, holding true to the experience of returning veterans…What’s left is a story about guilt, loss and finding a way back home.”
Penelope Bass, Willamette Week

“Stolowitz’s concept of telling Ithaka’s modern-day story through the framework of Homer’s epic poem is ingenious…an artfully crafted and socially relevant piece of theater.”
Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Portland Monthly

“Stolowitz’s writing is hilarious and harrowing.”
Patrick Brassell, Broadway World

Ithaka by Andrea Stolowitz is a bracingly original retelling of Homer’s Odyssey.  This is a play that investigates the grieving process.  It asks timely and necessary questions about how to make sense of loss, how to put to rest traumatic memories, and how to find a way home after the experience of war.  The writing incorporates fantastical elements like a talking cat and an adventurous style that includes elements as unexpected as a standup comedy routine where the jokes revolve around death.  At the core of the play, however, is a protagonist with great depth and humanity.  The final scene of the play where the protagonist tracks down the mother of her fallen colleague is exquisitely written and striking in its emotional impact.”
Naomi Iizuka, Oregon Book Award 2015 Judge

“Breathtaking design enhances this raw, heartbreaking tale.”
Kat Hey, Chicago Theater Beat

“ITHAKA is a thought-provoking redemption play.”
Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh

“A powerful performance. The audience was riveted.”
Gloria Henllan-Jones, Chicago Splash Magazine

“[The] work is technically excellent and artistically thrilling.”
David Zak, Chicago Stage Standard

AUDIENCE COMMENTS
“I worked with veterans who returned from Viet Nam and this captured the experience so authentically. Incredibly moving!”

“Great acting, ingenious set design, and well paced, structured storytelling about an important topic. Bravo!”

“Brilliant roller coaster ride through anguish and joy, deep friendship, loss and finally coming home.”

“I’m floored. The playwright is a genius. To be able to take us to the depths of despair and then make us laugh is true genius.”

Photos

 

Production History

  • Production, Havana Theater. Vancouver, BC. May 2016.
  • Production, Infusion Theater. Chicago, Il. March 2014.
  • Reading, PlayFest, Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Nov. 2013.
  • World Premiere, Artists Repertory Theater. May 2013.
  • Reading, City Theater, Pittsburgh. March 2013.
  • Reading, Western Oregon University. Oct. 2013.

Awards

  • Winner 2015 Oregon Book Award
  • Runner-up Leah Ryan Award, May 2013.
  • Lorraine Hansberry Award, Hedgebrook Writers Residency, March 2012.
  • Artists Repertory Theater’s New Play Commission, October 2011.

Press

Script

Script Sample (PDF)