Ohio University

An Iliad: Off Stage and Through the Lens

A live performance streamed to your home, AN ILIAD By Lisa Peterson & Denis O’Hare is a play about friendship, honoring the dead, and stopping cycles of violence. A storyteller cries out in the woods for a muse to help tell the story of the Trojan War. Will they get the assistance they need? Will they finally end this cycle of violence? Friendship, laughter, tears, music, and tequila help this 100-minute story unfold. Filmed on a socially-distanced set in Athens, OH.

Directed by David Cromer’s assistant, Emily Penick, the play was rehearsed in a field, with cast and crew masked, and staged to keep actors at least ten feet from one another. Then, Ukrainian cinematographer Anastasiia Kulikalova stepped in to translate the play to film. AN ILIAD was shot on a socially-distanced film set in rural Ohio.

Tickets to the three streamed performances are free with all donations going to Vibrancy Theater, a new Black and Indigenous POC ensemble in Athens, Ohio. Members of Vibrancy Theater worked on or appeared in the film.


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Pictured: (Left to right) Phillip C. Matthews and Jill Iverson

 A note from Anastasiia Kulikalova, Director of Photography

I was very excited when Emily Penick (director) approached me. Firstly, to be on set again and secondly,to be involved in a theater production. The script is great. I like the theme throughout: wars are pointless and that if someone is witness to them, [they should] care about the human cost.

It was a great experience for both of our disciplines--[we] pioneered bringing back production during the plague. And now we know it is possible and fun! Of course, it was a challenge to keep everyone 10 feet apart, wear masks in 92 degree Fahrenheit in the sun, and chase a “magic hour.” Moreover, we had only eight days for the production [of a] 45-page theater script. But, fantastic teamwork made it possible.

We knew we wanted to make this happen and we needed everyone to stay safe. Hence, we all rose to the challenge. Emily rehearsed the whole play with the actors before shooting, so we only needed two to three takes maximum for each shot. She knew the location very well, and brought the sun on our side.

My film school team--Nic Walli as a two-camera operator, Graham Holford as a sound and camera grip, Zeran Lei as a camera assistant, Edward Loupe and Kanat Omurbekov as grips and Jacob Midkiff as an editor and colorist--together, with  theater assistant director, Ri Moodie, and script supervisor,Jess Mckelvey, did all they could to make it smooth and use our limited time efficiently. Ri was never too pushy but kept her eye on me to not waste any second once the set was ready for actors.

Without this wonderful collaboration between film and theater it wouldn’t have been possible. I hope it will inspire more collaborations like this!

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Pictured: Jose Rocha

Creative Team

Director: Emily Penick, MFA ’13

Composer: Joshua Schmidt

Director of Photography: Anastasiia Kulikalova, MFA ’21

Assistant Director: Ri Moodie, BFA ’20

Sound: Harper Justus,  BFA ’22 and Dani Chaparro, MFA ’22


Jill Iverson, MA ’20

Philip Matthews,MFA ’21,

Rhys Carr,BFA ’24,

Andy Figueroa, BFA ’21

Jose Rocha, assistant professor of instruction, cello, chair, String Pedagogy

Streamed performance dates/times

Sept 18th 8pmET

Sept 19th 2pmET

Sept 20th 7pmET

Ticket Price

FREE, with all donations going to VIBRANCY THEATER, the new Black and Indigenous POC Ensemble, in Athens OH.

Reserve your streaming ticket here
View the video teaser here

Viewer Discretion is Advised

With both modern and Homeric text, we recommend viewer discretion as there are graphic descriptions of violence, often pulled directly from Homer’s ILIAD.

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Pictured: Andy Figueroa