Press Release

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) students presented four public performances of The Odyssey to packed audiences at Manarat Al Saadiyat this weekend. The show was an original adaptation of the epic poem by Homer, which tells of the love story between Odysseus and his wife Penelope, their faithful son Telemachus, and their reunion against all odds. The Hellenic myth presents themes of love and hope as it recounts Odysseus’ journey home after the war of Troy — throughout which he encounters strange mystics, magical sirens, one-eyed monsters, and visions of war and devastation.

Fourteen student actors and 16 student musicians and crew members brought this story to life with the support of NYUAD Associate Professor of Theater Rubén Polendo and members of Theater Mitu, his professional theater company. Polendo's innovative adaptation of the story used present-day storytellers who seamlessly manifested into the main characters of the story. Utilizing Theater Mitu's Whole Theater methodology, the production incorporated a range of global performance traditions, including elements of Japanese anime, Indian Kathakali, Japanese kabuki, butoh, Chinese object puppets, Greek bard tradition, and percussion, as well as an original music score.

“We have taken this immense story that has been told in a million different ways and have made it our own by creating an experience that is authentic to our student performers. They act as storytellers who use everyday objects as a tool to transform their surroundings to an ancient and mythical time and place,” Polendo explained.

About NYU Abu Dhabi
NYU Abu Dhabi consists of a highly selective liberal arts and science college (including engineering), and a world center for advanced research and scholarship — all fully integrated with each other and connected to NYU in New York. Together, NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi form the backbone of a unique global network university, with faculty and students from either New York or Abu Dhabi spending “semesters away” at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on five continents.

About Theater Mitu
Founded in 1997, Theater Mitu has earned a wide reputation as an adventuresome and dynamic ensemble of artists. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Rubén Polendo, the Company is dedicated to transliterating a wide variety of performance traditions, exploring theatrical form, and supporting the growth of its members, who are at the creative core of each piece the Company produces. Its considerable body of work has taken on a variety of forms: developmental work with some of the world’s leading theatrical innovators, productions in conjunction with universities and conservatories, engagement with non-theatrical communities, and international research and training with its members.