The hero, it seems, always gets the attention. But what about the stories of those who surround the hero?
Acting major Logan Sutton ’13 asked himself that very question after viewing a performance of Mary Zimmerman’s “Odyssey.” Three years later, Sutton used Elon University’s top award for creative endeavors to produce his original play titled “Story of Home,” which envisions a different view of the same myth.
“I wanted to explore the parallels that even in ancient times people were struggling with,” Sutton says. “[The Odyssey] is the base of the Western canon and it may be the first story told of a ‘broken home.’”
“Story” recounted the Trojan War in Greek mythology, in which King Odysseus of Ithaca goes to fight and leaves his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, to maintain the kingdom in his absence. When the war ends and Odysseus fails to return, the mother and son face new trials as suitors arrive every day with aspirations for the throne.
Sutton says that many narratives penned throughout history have followed a hero, though few authors or playwrights explore themes of family, loyalty, relationships and longing as experienced by characters such as Penelope and Telemachus.
“Story of Home” was part of a larger Elon College Fellows project supported by Lumen Prize funding. Sutton traveled to Greece with a Winter Term course and made site visits to areas that would be locations in his play. He was also able to study at the National Theater Institute for its Theatermakers Summer Intensive program.
Professor Fred Rubeck, chair of the Department of Performing Arts and Sutton’s Lumen Scholar mentor, says this project pushed Sutton in new directions and helped define his postgraduate plans.
Sutton is pursuing master’s-level studies in the United Kingdom. “I would not be at all unhappy by starting work with a theatre straight out of college,” he says. “But if there’s a time for me to attend graduate school, now feels like it.”