Iliad all night marathon part IV - in the end there is no end

Everything hangs on a thread.
Prayers to the gods, who will be heard?
Battleworn, grey, barely able to stand anymore and wondering will this ever end - no, not the audience, but the cast of warriors whose battle spins and switches back and forth, as fates intervene and fortunes wheels slide like a chariot in the mud.

The final chapter in this epic is one where all sense of right and wrong, winner and loser and even our own sleeping and waking worlds are blurred. But however pointless this war seems to have become, the purpose is brought into sharp focus like the improbable gravity-defying chair-star-towers that the soldier-crew have constructed amongst us... It's all about revenge.

There are heavy losses on both sides, from the terrifying slaying power of war princes to huge bloodbaths in field ditches, brothers, sons, husbands lovers, cousins and loyally sworn oaths are lost broken and smashed. We are given descriptions of hideous injuries and heroic but pointless last breaths. We feel grief, we see defeat, and multiple voices wail and shriek at times.

Fickle gods themselves are battling too for their own pride and amongst them a near-god mother brings her heart-wounded son back from betrayal and grief to avenge his loss and put aside his pride, Achilles returns to battle. The end comes then, he in his new magical armour, exacts a price beyond any a king could offer him.

But as the story closes, the urgent, shouting voices that have spoken to us with full force of passion for hours, that have gripped us and cajoled us through the night, the rattling apparatus that has whirled around us in a battle frenzy at times, the drums beating wildly, all are stilled and silence falls. We have been brought in close, right up by people's faces and taught bodies, we are held by the stares of the two sides across the centre of the room, contemplating men's folly and errors, know that the cycle repeats. As they sat at the end - in the end, there is no end.

We stand and applaud, not this war but the amazing physicality of us all actually being in this night long battle together, with armies of words and the carnage of loyalties. The cast have held us throughout with the power of their voices alone, a modern weapon, we are relieved we are only short of sleep not limbs.

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