An Iliad Explores the Heroism and Horror of Warfare, May 2-3

Monday, March 31, 2014

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

March 31, 2014College Park, MD – Actor Denis O’Hare (“True Blood”, “American Horror Story”) and director Lisa Peterson transform Homer’s great poem about the Trojan War into an intimate solo show, Homer’s Coat’s An Iliad, on May 2 and May 3 at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at UMD. O’Hare and Peterson, the founding members of Homer’s Coat, developed An Iliad as a way to address what it means to be a nation at war. The piece also pays tribute to the language and spirit of the classic poem but features mostly modern vernacular to illuminate the heroism and horror of warfare.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is presenting several additional events in connection with the performances. There will be a Talk Back following the May 2 performance as well as a Creative Dialogue entitled Homer’s Iliad: An Anti-War Manifesto? on May 1 in the Dance Theatre. On April 29-May 1, Combat Paper Project will be holding workshops for both veterans and community members in the Stamp Student Union’s Art and Learning Center in which uniforms worn in service will be transformed into handmade paper. Participants use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim the uniforms as art and to express their experiences.

About Homer’s Coat

Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson are founding members of Homer's Coat - a creative collective that explores foundational literature. An actor and a director respectively, they both develop, write and edit the pieces they make together. The creative process differs according to subject matter but the lens through which they view the theatrical medium makes for unique, energetic, imaginative performative experiences. Together they created the stage piece, An Iliad over a period of 5 years, utilizing video, video transcriptions, improvisation, original music and diligent research.  

Currently, they are developing a piece based on the Bible entitled The Good Book, commissioned by the Court Theatre in Chicago. The Good Book tells the story of the chaotic birth of the Christian Bible and how it came to be the most influential text in all of human history.

An Iliad has received multiple awards including the Joseph Jefferson Award (Chicago), 5 Craig Noel Awards (San Diego), Gregory Award (Seattle), Drama Desk Nomination (New York), OBIE Award (New York) and The Lucille Lortel Award (New York). For more information, please visit

About Denis O’Hare, Co-Author/The Poet

Denis O'Hare has appeared numerous times on Broadway in such pieces as Inherit The Wind, Sweet Charity (Drama Desk Award), Assassins (Tony Nomination), Take Me Out (Tony, Drama Desk awards), Major Barbara and Cabaret.  He has also worked extensively Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop in The Devils and Vienna Lusthaus, at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Into The Woods, Helen, Take Me Out (Obie, Lucille Lortel Awards) and other theatres.  His regional work includes Seattle Rep, Arena Stage, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, Remains Theatre and the McCarter Theatre.  A prolific film and T.V. actor, O’Hare appeared in 2 seasons of “True Blood” as King Russell Edgington, on the premiere season of “American Horror Story,” and as Judge Abernathy on “The Good Wife.” Film work includes C.O.G., The Eagle, Changeling, Milk, Michael Clayton, A Mighty Heart, Duplicity, The Proposal, Charlie Wilson's War and Garden State, among others. O'Hare is married to Hugo Redwood with whom he has a son. They live in Brooklyn, NY.

About Lisa Peterson, Co-Author / Director

In addition to many classic plays, Lisa Peterson has directed the premieres of new works by Donald Margulies, Tony Kushner, Beth Henley, Naomi Wallace, Caryl Churchill, Janusz Glowacki, Marlane Meyer, Culture Clash, Jose Rivera and many others at theaters including NYTW (OBIE for directing Light Shining in Buckinghamshire) Public, Vineyard, MTC, Primary Stages, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, Guthrie, ATL, Berkeley Rep, McCarter, Arena Stage, Geffen, Hartford Stage, Seattle Rep and many more. 


More information can be found on our web site. Tickets for this performance are $40/$10 (Regular/Students), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland is a collaborative space shared by the School of Music (SOM), the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.  The Clarice Smith Center presents performances and programs by visiting artists as well as by students and faculty of SOM and TDPS in an environment of creative learning, exploration and growth. A national model for a performing arts center on a major research university campus, the Center enables innovative partnerships and extraordinary experiences.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.