NEW KNOXVILLE — The togas are the same, but this isn’t your high school mythology class.
“The Iliad, The Odyssey, and All of Greek Mythology in 99 Minutes or Less,” opening at 7 p.m. Friday at New Knoxville School is an irreverent take on the gods, goddesses and heroes set down by Homer.
This is the debut New Knoxville production for director Vickie Shurelds, who compared the show to work done by British comedy troupe Monty Python. In a dress rehearsal Wednesday, she tweaked blocking and the students’ acting on the show.
“Every time you come on stage, you should be running, frantic,” she told students.
Students will each play multiple roles in the show, with women playing men, men playing women, and sashes designating what character they are at any given time.
The play is of leeway for students to improvise or make things their own.
Part of the challenge with high school students, Shurelds said, is how self-conscious people can be at that age, while the play really requires actors to be comfortable being goofy in front of people, even interacting with the audience.
Daniel Boyle, for example, enters the audience to flirt with a female audience member in the role of Zeus. At one point, an audience member will get on stage and die.
Moriah Dildine, who plays the Oracle, will pick people out of the audience and tell their futures.
“You will order a Diet Coke in a restaurant, and they will give you regular Coke,” she said during rehearsal.
In the next few rehearsals, Shurelds will direct the Rangers to project their voices and not turn their backs to the audience, even as she coaches them to heighten their energy on stage.
Her purpose in taking the job, however, is already fulfilled.
“I wanted to do this just because I like being around kids,” she said.
The play will be at 7 p.m. Friday and at 7 p.m. Saturday at New Knoxville School. Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for students in advance and prices increase by $1 at the door.