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Publishers Weekly, 2006-09-18 Gritty, laconic, well-known poet Komunyakaa (who won a Pulitzer for 1993's Neon Vernacular) teams up with playwright and dramaturge Garcia for a compelling, short, stage-ready adaptation of the Sumerian epic that may be the oldest story in the world. In the play, as in its ancient source, the ill-content King Gilgamesh develops a deep passion for Enkidu, a wild man who grew up among beasts. The king and the wild man fight together against the spectral forest-monster Humbaba; they win, but the resulting curse kills Enkidu, and the distraught king must travel to the ends of the Earth for the magic flower that might revive his friend. Komunyakaa's short lines and taciturn bearing fit the gravity of the warriors' tragedy, and he strikes the right balance between contemporary directness and antique grace. Gilgamesh, once embarked on his quest for the flower, demands of one among its many guardians: "Open the gate/ so I may confront the father of Grief." If Komunyakaa's Sumerians lack the verbal polish and the philosophical ambition of, say, fellow poet Seamus Heaney's Greeks (found in his translation of Sophocles), this is a dramatic work of sinewy vitality, with a real hero who moves and breathes on the stage. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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