The Merced County Arts Council is readying to host an all-night reading of the adventures of Greek hero Odysseus as he avoids the pitfalls in his trek home.
The council, with the assistance of Project Big Top, plans All-Night Odyssey in which readers will read “The Odyssey” all the way through in a single night. It begins at 6 p.m. July 1 and ends at 8 a.m. the next day at the Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main St.
It works like this: Participants read selections from Homer’s epic poem while competing in games and activities for prizes throughout the night. All proceeds from donations benefit programming at the center.
The All-Night Odyssey is an adventure in returning to the oral tradition of poetry and storytelling, according to Dawn Trook, one of the event’s coordinators and founder of Project Big Top.
Epic poetry was meant to be read aloud, and the ancient Greeks recited poetry in public spaces. So this seemed like a perfect fundraising event to do at the MAC.
Colton Dennis, executive director of the Merced County Arts Council
“In an age where most of our communication, even the most personal, happens via technology, this event will try to recapture the sense of community storytelling and listening around fires and at festivals,” she said in a news release. “We will unplug and try to slow down our minds, and hold the space for poetry.”
Trook said the event is also meant to fill the Merced Multicultural Arts Center with with people new to it.
Homer’s “The Odyssey” tells the story of Odysseus, who is making a 10-year journey back to Ithaca after the fall of Troy. The Greek gods throw hurdles in his path along the way.
“Epic poetry was meant to be read aloud, and the ancient Greeks recited poetry in public spaces,” council Executive Director Colton Dennis said in the news release. “So this seemed like a perfect fundraising event to do at the MAC.”
The center is asking for donations, which are tax-deductible.
To donate or make a pledge to a reader, go to www.artsmerced.myevent.com.
Know and go
When: 6 p.m. July 1-8 a.m. July 2
Where: Merced Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main St.