By Heather Lusk
Zionsville middle schoolers often read Homer’s “The Odyssey,” and Zionsville Middle School fifth- and sixth-graders will be pulled into the tale as they perform “Home at Last: An Odd Little Odyssey.”
The play’s story is being retold in the 1950s but depicted during the Trojan War. Ben Diedrich portrays Odysseus, giving him the opportunity to perform several combat scenes.
“Action is everywhere,” Diedrich said. “You can’t go a scene without having something fun to do.”
The ZMS performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 3 Tickets are available before each show.
Diedrich is a fan of mythology. He has learned a lot about Odysseus from the play but expects to better understand the story when he reads it in school next year.
Sixth-grader Rory Meyer plays a girl in the 1950s whose father has gone to war.
“(My character) can relate to ‘The Odyssey,’” she said.
Having recently read ‘The Odyssey” at ZMS, Meyer was excited to already know many elements of the story.
The show works on many educational levels, according to co-director Josetta Gregg, who said limiting the show to fifth- and sixth-graders at the beginning of the school year provides better opportunities for participation.
“We wanted to give them that culture right away,” said Gregg, a science teacher at ZMS.
It’s something that Meyer appreciates.
“I find it much more reassuring that a lot of people have a chance even if they haven’t been in plays,” she said.
Seventh- and eighth-graders will perform a musical in the spring and some act as mentors for this production’s 55 students, helping the younger students with elements like costumes, lighting and acting.
Although the cast is larger than many plays, Gregg said it allows students to refine skills such body language, placement and projection that aren’t always a focus of a musical.