Most of us are familiar with Homers famous story of the Trojan War hero, Odysseus. On September 16, 2010 any images which I previously had, transformed into reality through listening to Odds Bodkin tell his rendition of the story. Before starting he stated his goal: for the students to be able to imagine what was going in our own minds through imagination. I have always had a wild imagination, so when hearing this, my undivided attention was gained. The man was introduced by an older woman, who by watching her expressions during his story I presumed to be his wife, and came out to sit on a stage with two microphones and a stool while holding a guitar. Through use of these simple tools his humor and talent made the story come to life. To keep this lively feel Bodkin would change his voice and personify the characters. Throughout listening I couldn’t help but think of the Monte Python, since the way he told it had a similar tone and feel.
The way in which he made each character come alive was through use of his voice, his guitar and his description. By giving the characters their own distinct voice they gained their own identity. His guitar became his tool to set certain moods, and tones throughout the story. To make us feel the scenes he would match the speed of his voice to that of the action happening, giving the scenes meaning and movement. He would point and squint when talking of a far off land, his face expressions made you see the characters, and his description made it as if you could eat the lotus right alongside the men. He had perfect control over his voice and the different pitches would create different feeling and tones; if he talked with a soft, sweet voice we felt calm and felt what the character was feeling. When Odysseus was thinking back to his wife, the music had a romantic dreamy sound. When Odysseus was set on getting home, we could feel the eagerness in his pleas and feel the desperation in his voice. When it came time to fight, the music gained a fast pace and Bodkin literally made sounds which an arrow would make. You wanted to duck and hide, since it became that real, while your heart was beating as fast as the men’s.
It was amazing to me that he was able to create so many different characters, but when he made it so the surrounding became just as real, I was blown away. His detail of the people came out not much in words, but in his actions. The stillness inside the horse became the feeling of the room- no one was talking- we were all listening. Then we could see the ‘horse giving birth to the men’ and feel their anticipation. I could picture the huge waves of the angry gods washing away goats and pigs. I found myself open mouthed, and wide eyed in hearing what was happening, such as when Polythemis squished the man, we could see his one eye (since the man would close one of his eyes) staring at you while the ‘gel’ of the man’s insides came out, making my body cringe and my nose wrinkle.
He wanted the story to come alive and have us picture and become one with the characters. He personified everything about each character, whether it was their voices, expressions or actions. They were all separated, but were all really one man. Once the story ended it was if a trance was casted away, and we were transported from Greece back to Maryland. It amazed me how much power our imagination had, and how one man has the power to be many.