The Penelope Poems
Wednesday, Mar 25th, 2020 at 7:30 pm
San Francisco Main Stage
Writer and Director: Patti Trimble
Music Director: Peter Whitehead
Set/ Video: Lauren Elder and Patti Trimble
Spoken Word Penelope: Patti Trimble
Spoken Word Chorus and Song: Julia Norton
Spoken Word Chorus: Maya Khosla
Instrumental Music, Composition, and Song: Peter Whitehead
With Songs by Leonard Cohen, Imelda May, and Tim Buckley
Patti Trimble presents her spoken-word Penelope—originally performed at the Commonwealth Club—reimagining Homer’s Odyssey for the 21st century. Julia Norton and Maya Khosla create a tiny chorus, praying, singing and often deconstructing the tale, and Peter Whitehead weaves his signature improvisations on flutes and strings.
Trimble’s delightful text bridges millennia, celebrating Penelope as a beloved, living, literary collage. This is a Penelope who’s been written, again and again. And she’s clearly a woman who reads, with muses such as Judith Butler, Socrates, Ovid, Virginia Woolf, Aristophanes, James Joyce, and Ferlinghetti.
Mostly, Penelope speaks from her experience, and she speaks to us personally. She’s savvy on heroism, Sirens, gender, monsters, childbirth, faithfulness, and murder. Also about unweaving as a form of reparation, and about the art of living on this wild Earth.
Since the 1990s Patti Trimble has mesmerized audiences with smart lyric spoken word, performing in the USA and Europe. With support from Lannan Foundation, Poets&Writers, Djerassi Foundation, Adirondack Review, INDA Italy, and a Pushcart nomination, her writings speak to our lives: in theater and dance productions, clubs and festivals, museum installations, publications, and recordings. New York poetry impressario Bob Holman writes, “with her skilled blend of poesy and music, there’s no other journey so worth taking”. Patti lives half-time in Europe; she teaches in the Bay Area and writes for the SF Ethnic Dance Festival. www.pattitrimble.com
Peter Whitehead is a composer, performer, songwriter and instrument builder. He performs solo and creates scores for film, television, radio, and dance, including for Mikhail Baryshnikov, Susan Marshall, Anna Halprin, Charles Moulton and Sarah Shelton Mann & Contraband. His music is available online and from out of round records. He is also a painter & photographer, his most recent project a book of photographs of Treasure Island.
Julia Norton is an award-winning singer, actor, composer and storyteller, for 20 years teaching others how to use their whole voice. Her podcast ‘Dark and Twisty Tales’ combines grim folk tales with improvised song. Her album ‘Lullaby Island’ mixes Celtic style vocals, traditional lullabies, and Victorian poems. www.julianorton.com
Maya Khosla is a wildlife biologist, currently Poet Laureate of Sonoma County. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and featured in The Literary Review, River Teeth, Poem, and other journals. Her books are All the Fires of Wind and Light, Sixteen Rivers Press; Web of Water: Life in Redwood Creek, a guide book; Keel Bone, winner Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize; and Heart of the Tearing, Red Dust Press. https://creekshade.wixsite.com/mayakhosla