photo by Tim Fuller

Having a timeless presence, Patty Gallagher creates a soulful lament as The Poet in "An Iliad," beginning her tale with the Trojan War and continuing across the centuries with her plea to finally stop all wars.

Far more than a play, The Rogue Theatre's production of “An Iliad” performed by Patty Gallagher with pianist-composer Jake Sorgen is a complete theatrical experience.

Praise-worthy phrases pile up, the more you know the more amazing this feat becomes. Presented on basically an enormous bare stage, with Gallagher the only cast member and Sorgen providing all the musical accompaniment and aural atmosphere, your own imagination becomes the most active ingredient.

There are no costume changes, no sets, no special effects save the production of “An Iliad” itself, which becomes one very big special stage effect.

Unseen but always present in her handiwork is the compelling direction by Cynthia Meier, as the three artists cleverly conspire to create such a fulsome telling of the equally seductive and deadly qualities that are the eternal nature of war.

This particular retelling of the classic epic nine-year siege of Troy by the relentless Greeks begins with Robert Fagles' translation of Homer's epic poem.

Then Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare developed the idea of what this war that launched a thousand war ships would sound like if it were told in today's casual language which has turned the destructive powers of war into just another topic for the evening news.

In this plain-faced setting, those vaguely familiar Greek names – Achilles, Aphrodite, Agamemnon, Hector, Petroclus and others – pop up like road signs from a distant past. We recognize them without knowing exactly why.

Gallagher as the timeless Poet begins her 95-minute performance with the lament “Every time I sing this song, I hope it is the last time.”

Before she has finished, before she recites a shamefully lengthy list of all wars from the god-obsessed Trojans through the world's many civil wars and world wars – from the Greeks of old to the complete sadness of Gaza today, we are asked aren't all wars actually the same war?

If there is an Everyman representing all humanity, is there an Everywar representing all wars? Since that tumultuous beginning, haven't we been fighting the same war over and over again? Is there any difference among them? Dead bodies are added up like scores in a ball game. Really, is there any such thing as a Great War?

Gallagher throws herself into this maelstrom of questions, filling her tale with shaded changes of pace, levels of volume, a spinning kaleidoscope of war's clutches, her blue eyes blazing. To watch her and not be affected by her performance is impossible.

“An Iliad” continues through March 10, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m, matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., in The Rogue Theatre, 300 E. University Blvd. Tickets are $47 general admission, $15 for students with ID (when seats are available).

For details and reservations,, or phone 520-551-2053.


photo copyright by Gaslight Theatre

Unfairly imprisoned Dr. Bartholomew Steele (Jake  Chapman) seeks his freedom and the pure heart of Miss Prudence Fairchild (Janee Page) in their tidal tale "The Curse of the Pirate's Gold." 

Avast! Ahoy! And all the rest of that sea-going chatter from the pirate-laden waters of the sunny Caribbean.

Yes, matey. It's time for the Gaslight Theatre to unfurl its newest production of “The Curse of the Pirate's Gold.”

Arrrrrr ye ready for pirate jokes a-plenty? What do pirates do when they get old? They join the AARrrrrrrP! What kind of socks do pirates wear? Arrrrrrgyles.

Katherine Byrnes and Mike Yarema have adapted and directed this salty yarn, working from the original script written by Peter Van Slyke, with musical direction by Josh Lamoreaux.

Greedy desires and one man's determination to live free compete for the audience's attention. Both sides are swinging from ropes in the rigging, firing cannon balls past the mizzen mast and – of course – fighting sword against sword in the defense of true justice.

At the heart of all this conflict, literally, is Janee Page as the innocent and beautiful Miss Prudence Fairchild, a cultured lass whose untouched purity is desired by both the unscrupulous Captain Spaulding (Todd Thompson) and the full of scruples Dr. Bartholomew Steele (Jake Chapman) who is determined to clear his name of the false charges that keep him a prisoner aboard the English vessel Regal Eagle.

There will be lots of singing and dancing, several chanted warnings to not ever mention “The Dead Man's Curse” and a wave-riding song list that includes such sea-going favorites as “Come Sail Away” and that joyful celebration “We're out here having fun in the warm Caribbean sun.”

Joining forces with Page's heart-tugging damsel in distress is the super-animated Erin Thompson as Molly, an ambitious tavern babe who longs to join the boys in their boisterous behavior as fearless pirates determined to find Captain Blackheart's sunken chest of cursed booty.

Unbeknownst to Molly, the medallion that can neutralize the bad spirits in this deep-sea trunk of misfortune is worn by the also unaware Miss Prudence .

You can bet, once the dastardly Captain Spaulding and the stalwart Dr. Steele both discover the power of this medallion, cannon balls will begin to fly.

Tucked into the cast list surreptitiously is the name of longtime Gaslight favorite David Fanning as Dryrot, a notorious buccaneer.

As is the Gaslight custom, sometimes their leading men are cast in secondary roles. That is the case here. But even though Dryrot doesn't shake his hips like Elvis the Pirate, it's still fun to think about.

Also fun to think about is the “Hee Haw” olio, returning us to the flannel shirts and crinoline skirts of country music radio station WSM. On hand to add a funny line or two are Grandpa Jones, Homer and Jethro, Tennessee Ernie Ford and a couple of frustrated farm girls telling such jokes as “Well, I finally met my Mister Right.”


“But then I discovered that his first name is 'Always'.”

“The Curse of the Pirate's Gold” runs through March 31 at the Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd., with performances at various times. Tickets before taxes are $27 adults, with discounts available for Groups, Students,Seniors, Military, First Responders, and Children 2-12. Reservations are required,

For details and reservations, phone 520-886-9428 or visit