- Homer's Odyssey Two (radio)
“Homer’s Odyssey: Voyage to the Underworld” is a radio program from the American radio anthology series
Radio Tales. The anthology series adapted classic works of American and world literature for the radio. The series was a recipient of numerous awards, including four Gracie Allen Awards from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television (in 2004, [ [http://www.awrt.org/press-releases/2004/Press_Release_%20Announce_Winners.pdf "AWRT Press Release"] AWRT.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] 2003, [ [http://www.npr.org/about/press/030402.gracie.html "NPR Productions Win Gracie Allen Awards"] NPR.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] 2001, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20011126020253/www.awrt.org/awards/2000GracieWinners.html "2001 Gracie Allen Award Winners"] AWRT.org, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] and 1998), a New York Festivals WorldMedal, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050207122048/http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/res/pdf/2004RPwinners.pdf "2004 Winners, Radio Programming and Promotion, New York Festivals"] NewYorkFestivals.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] and a Golden Reel Merit Award. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20010802161539/www.nfcb.org/2001reelsinfo.html "NFCB Announces 2001 Golden Reel Award Winners"] NFCB.org, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] “Homer’s Odyssey: Voyage to the Underworld” was an adaptation of the epic poem by Homer.
The Radio Tales production of “Homer’s Odyssey: Voyage to the Underworld” was first broadcast via XM Satellite Radio on April 19, 2003. Since November 28th, 2002, the entire Radio Tales series has aired on the Sonic Theater channel (163) of the
XM Satellite Radioservice [ [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/features/sonictheater.xmc "Sonic Theater"] XMRadio.com. Accessed May 22, 2008.] .
The program was produced and script edited by series producer
Winnie Waldron, who also served as the on-air host [ [http://www.winifredphillips.com/wp_bio.html "Winifred Phillips Official Site: Biography"] Winifredphillips.com. Accessed May 19, 2008.] . Composer Winifred Phillipscreated over fifty-six minutes of music for the program, and also performed as the featured actress [ [http://www.mninter.net/~jstearns/nprPH.html#top "NPR Playhouse - January - March, 2001"] MNinter.net. Accessed March 21, 2008.] .
The Radio Tales production of “Homer’s Odyssey: Voyage to the Underworld” has been available in numerous formats and venues, including burn-on-demand CDs manufactured and distributed by MP3.com [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20031129193548/artists.mp3s.com/artists/33/npr_radio_tales.html "MP3.com: Radio Tales"] MP3.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed
July 15, 2008.] and Ampcast.com [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20060212003627/http://www.ampcast.com/music/25229/artist.php "Ampcast.com: Radio Tales"] Ampcast.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed July 15, 2008.] . Beginning in 2005, programs from the series, including “Homer’s Odyssey: Voyage to the Underworld”, have been available for download via the Audioville.co.uk web site [ [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=586&ProductCategoryId=59 "audioVille | Stor>>Fiction | Radio Tales | Download Audio Books, Podcasts and more in MP3. Comedy, Fiction, sport, news, science, drama."] Audioville.co.uk. Accessed September 15, 2008.] .
The story begins after the legendary hero Odysseus escapes from the island of the Cyclopes with the surviving warriors of his army from Ithaca, whereupon their fleet of many ships resumes its journey homeward. The fleet arrives at the island of King Aeolus, who long ago had been given command of the winds by Zeus himself. Aeolus entertains them for a month, and when they at last are ready to depart, the king gives Odysseus a sack in which he has trapped all the winds unfavorable to Odysseus’ journey homeward. With this sack safely tucked away aboard his ship, Odysseus and his fleet set sail. All through the remaining journey Odysseus never drops his hand from the rudder – until the isle of Ithaca is at last visible. Only then does he dare to sleep. With their captain lost in dreams, the crew begins arguing about the mysterious sack of King Aeolus. They imagine that great wealth is kept within, and that Odysseus is unfairly keeping it to himself. They open the sack. The unfavorable winds roar out of the bag and quickly drive the fleet far away from Ithaca and from each other.
Odysseus awakens to find his ship alone, and near to the isle of Aeolus from which they had come. The king of the winds greets them coldly, bidding them be gone, for clearly fortune hated them. Thus rebuffed, they again board their ship, and in the absence of any favorable wind, they are forced to row for six long days. Reaching an island, Odysseus sees a thin column of smoke rising from the forest, and after climbing to higher ground he is able to discern a cottage deep within the trees. Odysseus resolves that they should investigate, but his men are afraid. He divides his men into two companies, and they draw lots to determine which shall go to the cottage. The lot falls upon the band of men led by Eurylochus. Approaching the house, these men hear a beautiful woman singing within, and are soon greeted by the sorceress Circe, daughter of the god Helios. She invites them inside, and all but Eurylochus proceed within (for he suspects trickery). Circe prepares a meal for them which is laced with a magic potion, and after they finish the meal she turns them all into pigs with a stroke of her wand.
Eurylochus returns and tells Odysseus what happened, after which Odysseus resolves to go back to Circe’s cottage alone. On the way he offers a prayer to the gods, asking them to be merciful and help him. The god Mercury hears this prayer and descends, giving Odysseus an herb to counteract Circe’s poison, and offering advice on how to win over the willful enchantress. After this, Odysseus continues on alone to the cottage. Circe greets him and ushers him to her banquet table, offering him a meal that she secretly laces with a potion. Odysseus consumes all without concern, for Mercury’s herb now protects him. Then, when she would strike him with her wand to turn him into a pig, Odysseus dodges the strike and draws his sword as if to kill her, whereupon Circe begs for mercy and promises to restore Odysseus’ men to their rightful form. Immediately she does so, and Odysseus is reunited with his friends.
Circe allows Odysseus’ entire company to remain with her for a year, after which she advises Odysseus to lead his men to the realm of Hades, to consult with the prophet Teiresias. Without the prophet’s wisdom, Circe is certain that Odysseus will never reach his homeland. The men board their ship and raise the sail, which Circe fills with the North wind so that the ship proceeds to the isle of the dead without any need of guidance. Reaching the shore, Odysseus offers prayers and sacrifices to the dead. Many ghosts come, including specters of people Odysseus knew in their former lives. Odysseus sees the mighty Hercules, who had lived a life similarly burdened with terrible trials. The prophet Teiresias approaches and warns Odysseus that he and his men will only reach their homeland if they can avoid killing the cattle of Helios on the Thrinacian island – otherwise only Odysseus will return alive. Teiresias also tells Odysseus that if he goes to a land where none have seen the sea and makes sacrifice to Poseidon, he would appease the god and live a long and happy life thereafter. After this, Odysseus and his men return to their ship and continue their journey home.
* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=586&ProductCategoryId=59 Homer’s Odyssey: Voyage to the Underworld page on Audioville.co.uk]
* [http://www.radiotales.com/ The Official Radio Tales® Web Site]
* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view_productcategory.php?Id=59 Radio Tales® Full Catalog on AudioVille]
* [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=163 XM Satellite Radio's Sonic Theater Channel]
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