PLEASE NOTE. As of June 2004 these
pages and the links herein are no longer being updated or maintained. Disclaimer
: Oakland Unified School District is not responsible for the content of external
With its inspired counterpointing of Homeric and Caribbean themes,
Derek Walcott's new play, commissioned by Britain's Royal Shakespeare
Company, springs from the same imaginative sources as his epic poem
Episodes of the story of Odysseus' protracted wanderings from fallen
Troy to his island home of Ithaca are pungently interspersed with
a commentary by the blind singer Billy Blue. Proteus, the Old Man
of the Sea, the giant Cyclops, Circe and her revellers, ghosts,
and mermaids are among the cast. With its vast sweep and richly
figurative language, The Odyssey confirms that Derek Walcott is
as compelling a playwright as he is a poet. More...
Derek Walcott was born in 1930 in the town of Castries in
Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles.
The experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island, an
ex-British colony, has had a strong influence on Walcott's life
and work. Both his grandmothers were said to have been the descendants
of slaves. His father, a Bohemian watercolourist, died when Derek
and his twin brother, Roderick, were only a few years old. His mother
ran the town's Methodist school. More...