Though originally published in 1964, Helen MacInnes play Home is the Hunter still feels surprisingly fresh for the modern audience. Set in the court of Ulysses (note, not referred to as Odysseus in the play save for a brief explanation) upon his return to Ithica, this play focuses not only on the infamous strapping hero of the Odyssey, but Penelope and how she functioned while being besiged upon by possible suitors.
If one does not have a basic knowledge of the Odyssey, part of Home is the Hunter will slip through fingers like the sands of Callisto’s Beach. The play is written with the idea that the reader will have stumbled across Homer’s epic poem at least once in their lives. Homer actually features as a character in the play. Penelope is strong and beautiful, but unlike the epic play of Homer she actually shows humanity and human frailty. Ulysses also shows his weakness. I enjoyed the fact that Penelope actually takes the time to question in this play why it took Ulysses an additional 7 years after fighting the Trojan War to get himself back home to her and the island.
Home is the Hunter is a quick read and only two acts. While it is not an outright feminist centered play, it is nice to see Ulysses get questioned for his actions, even if he does not provide satisfactory answers.
Home is the Hunter is now available from Titan Books.