By Emily Davis
“Anon(ymous)”, written by playwright Naomi Iizuka and directed at Lewis & Clark’s Fir Acres Theatre by Francisco Garcia, reimagines Homer’s “Odyssey” within the context of the contemporary issue of immigration reform. Set around the story of a young refugee making his way home, encountering horrors and triumphs along the way, “Anon(ymous)” is a simultaneously heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of a young man voyaging back to his idea of home.
The story opens with Anon (Avi Fana), the young immigrant, joined by the Chorus of Refugees, stating what there is “where I come from.” For the Chorus, it is familiar food, smells and nature that creates their personal idea of home. Trying to navigate his way through the United States alone, Anon does not know where to begin his story. The goddess Naja (Olivia Mathews), who has protected Anon since childhood, tells him: “Begin in the middle. On the border. On the crossing. Begin in the place in between.”
Part of what makes “Anon(ymous)” so incredible is its nonlinear plot. The play spans many locations and situations, and each story is woven into the increasingly intricate narrative. The simple set, made of bare-bones wooden platforms of varying sizes, mimics an urban jungle. The projector behind the set perfectly illuminates not only physical locations, such as the ocean or a dark alley, but also more abstract images such as spice or grime.
The way “Anon(ymous)” reimagines Homer’s “Odyssey” is spectacular down to the last detail, and the complexity of connection between the two are phenomenal. Reworking classical characters such as Calypso and the cyclops into modern day characters leaves the audience in a state of awe. I particularly like the horror of the modern cyclops scene, and Anon’s quick thinking to set himself free.
Alluding to the themes of “Anon(ymous)”, Director Francisco Garcia explained how the idea of home and loss are explored within the narrative.
“What drew me to this piece is the universal message of home and people searching for a home,” Garcia said. “What is a home? Is home a place? Is it a person? And when you’re separated for your home what will you do to get back to that place?”
The story encourages the audience to consider the difficulties of being a refugee or immigrant, and reevaluate what home means universally. “Anon(ymous)” joins together a timeless epic with an important contemporary issue to create a provocative production that highlights the themes of home, racial identity and immigration.
“Anon(ymous)” will be showing in Fir Acres Theatre Main Stage, March 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m.