Multinational, multimedia production reimagines Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ in ‘Anon(ymous)’

In collaboration with performers from Kolkata, India, the University of Maine School of Performing Arts Division of Theatre and Dance presents “Anon(ymous)” by Naomi Iizuka, debuting at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 in the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre.

The multimedia production, which will run for the next two weeks, is directed by UMaine Libra assistant professor of theatre and English Rosalie Purvis and collaborator Debaroti Chakraborty in Kolkata. The cast features 13 UMaine students and nine cast members from Kolkata, including professional actors and theatre students at Presidency College.  

“Anon(ymous)” reimagines Homer’s “Odyssey” as a contemporary story of forced migration. Separated from his mother, a young refugee called Anon journeys through the U.S. in search of his family, encountering a variety of people — some kind, some dangerous and some cruel.

“I like to work on projects that address political issues through emotional and personal pathways,” says Purvis. “I believe that work about migration and displacement and borders tends to challenge conventional narrative structure, which tends to rely on a sense of ‘coming home.’ When we do not know where home is, when we are moving from place to place and adapting from culture to culture, this changes the way we think and tell stories, even our own stories. Somehow I felt our community would relate to this.”

“Anon(ymous)” will be Purvis’s directorial debut at UMaine, and she is thrilled to have brought a cross-continental production to the stage. 

“This process really is reminding me of the main reason I so deeply love performance, which is to connect across boundaries, even those that seem impossible to traverse,” she says. 

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15–16, 21–23; and at 2 p.m. Oct. 17 and 24. Tickets are $12 or free with a student MaineCard, and available for purchase online