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June 1, 2018:

Epic Fail reviewed by Rob Stevens

According to Wikipedia, Elpenor was the youngest of Odysseus’s band of warriors. He was not especially notable for his intelligence or strength but he survived the Trojan War. He experienced some adventures with Odysseus on the homeward voyage until a drunken accident on Circe’s island ended his life. Creator/performer Jordan Rountree was inspired by Emily Wilson’s 2017 translation of Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey and has created Epic Fail which he and his laptop are performing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

With just a few floor mounted lights, computer generated electronic music and a few props Rountree presents a moody, intense and never boring hour of storytelling. He first appears in modern sniper camouflage gear which he strips out of hurriedly when Circe turns him into a pig. His naked, heavily tattooed body shows various cuts of pork like “picnic” and “bacon”. His Elpenor relates his pain of transformation from man to pig and back again, his feelings of inadequacy and his desire to end the adventures (he has heard a trip to Hades is planned) and just return home. His weariness and homesickness are artfully conveyed. Rountree has created an interesting modern take on the classic tale that casts a spell over his audience, making them attentive rather than turning them into dinner.


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