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Gilgamesh: A Verse Play

At a Glance

Category: Audio CD


Release Date:
February 2008

Recorded at
Actors Scene Unseen

Charlotte, NC  


Audio CD

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Poetry by
Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet
Yusef Komunyakaa

Concept and Dramaturgy by
Chad Gracia

Directed by
Elizabeth Peterson-Vita

Musical Score by
Grammy Nominated Musician
Rahim AlHaj

Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by
James Vita

Produced by
Actors Scene Unseen

Just Plain Folks nominee 

Actors Scene Unseen's CD production of Gilgamesh – A Verse Play by Yusef Komunyakaa and Chad Gracia with a musical score by Rahim AlHaj was just nominated for Best Storytelling Album in the 2009 Just Plain Folks Awards. CLICK HERE to learn more about Just Plain Folks Awards


With over 42,000 albums and 560,000 songs from 80 countries submitted, Just Plain Folks is the largest music awards in world history. Here's what Just Plain Folks says about how the nominations were determined … "The judges were given 1 criteria to judge: Does the music move you? If you're reading this (or representing an artist who is nominated) that means you moved a lot of people to make it all the way to the nominations from the largest body of music ever considered".


First told over 5000 years ago, the epic story of Gilgamesh is considered by scholars to be the oldest example of narrative literature. It is the archtype for all hero quests including Star Wars and the Greek and Roman epics. The characters and sounds in this rich audio adaptation will transport you back to ancient Uruk, the cradle of civilization. This CD is a masterful adaptation of Gilgamesh replete with love, monsters, battles, and redemption.


"Gloriously directed by Ph.D. co-founder of Actors Scene Unseen Elizabeth Peterson-Vita and set the lovely compositions of the Grammy Recognized Composer Rahim AlHaj this story springs to life with depth and precision. A company founded in 2003, Actors Scene Unseen has developed a reputation for extraordinary theater produced for listeners and viewers with the use of technical expertise, and with the engineering skills of James Vita, and this latest adaptation will only strengthen that reputation." - Metro Spirit, 2008


The city of Uruk is tormented by its self-absorbed and cruel king, Gilgamesh. In answer to the prayers of the people, Enkidu appears to confront him. The rivalry of these two heroes unexpectedly evolves into an epic friendship as they determine to rid the world of the monstrous evil Humbaba. When Gilgamesh is confronted by his mortality, he defies all who counsel resignation and sets off on a pursuit of eternal life. In this epic quest, he learns what all of us must. His journey reveals humanity's obsession with mortality and hints at how we might ultimately make peace with this dread necessity.



   Joseph Klosek as Gilgamesh

David G. Holland as Enkidu

Rachel Jeffreys as Ninsun

Reid Dalton, Brian Daye, Ted Delorme, Susanne Kenny Gallagher, Carrie Anne Hunt, Tamara Ivins, Amy Laughter, Eric Martin, Brett Mason, Gretchen McGinty, Catherine Rutledge, Tom Scott, Angela Shannon, Tosha Thompson, Calvin Walton, Dael Waxman





2. Absolute Rule

3. Becoming Human

4. Suffering Man's Hurt

5. Confrontation

6. Off to Battle

7. Slaying the Giant

8. Lost Brother



9. A Dangerous Quest

10. Love at the Brink of the World

11. The River of Death

12. Gift of the Gods

13. A King Transformed




TOTAL TIME: 1:12:23

Cover art taken from The Revenge of Ishtar © 1993 by Ludmila Zeman, published in the United States by Tundra Books of Northern New York

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Yusef Komunyakaa was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1947. His numerous books of poems include Neon Vernacular, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

In addition to his works of poetry, Komunyakaa has written the libretto for Testimony, an opera based on the life and music of Charlie Parker which premiered at the Sydney Opera House.

Komunyakaa also co-edited The Jazz Poetry Anthology and co-translated The Insomnia of Fire by Nguyen Quang Thieu. His honors include the William Faulkner Prize, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, where he served as a correspondent and managing editor of the Southern Cross.

In 1999 he was elected Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Yusef Komunyakaa is currently Distinguished Senior Poet at NYU.

Chad Gracia is the former Executive Director of Inverse Theater, where he acted as producer and dramaturg to the award winning playwright Kirk Wood Bromley.

His 10 acclaimed productions at Inverse include The American Revolution (2002, winner, Best of Fringe), Midnight Brainwash Revival (dir. Joshua Spafford; "sparkles and shines..." - NY Times), and the hit musical by the late Jessica Grace Wing, Lost (winner, Best of Fringe 2003; "Perfect!" - The New Yorker).

Gracia has also published and edited six of Mr. Bromley's verse plays and written a book on the business of acting. He is the creator of ActorTips, a weekly newsletter read by over 30,000 actors.

In addition to his work in the theater, Gracia maintains an interest in ancient history and the culture and politics of the modern Middle East. As a communications consultant, he has worked with the Pentagon, the royal families of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as well as many other businesses of the Persian Gulf. He has published extensively on Middle Eastern society and politics.



Elizabeth Peterson-Vita is a New York City native and is co-founder and Creative Director of Actors Scene Unseen, the pioneering theatre company with work spanning Internet radio, audio CD, and stage performances.


She has directed many Actors Scene Unseen productions, including Nijinsky’s Last Dance (2007 Metrolina Theatre Association Award for Best Production - Special Event),  A Shakespeare Christmas Carol, Miller’s Court, An Uncertain Hour, Radiance of a Thousand Suns: The Hiroshima Project, The Canterbury Tales, Slaughterhouse-Five and the American premiere of Jack – The Musical, The Ripper Pursued.  


Peterson-Vita has also been seen on-stage as an actor, and is a dialect coach and freelance writer and theatre reviewer.


In addition, she holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and her work is informed by her interests in cultural competence, mythology, literature, and world history.



Rahim AlHaj, virtuoso oud musician and composer, was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (the grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. Early on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for playing the oud. Mr. Alhaj studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. AlHaj won various awards at the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He also holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Mr. AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since.


Rahim AlHaj was recently nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for his album When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq, produced by Smithsonian Folkways.


James Vita is the engineer and producer of The Battle of Alcatraz, Miller's Court, A Frost in Russia, the original cast CD of Jack - The Musical, The Ripper Pursued, and now Gilgamesh: A Verse Play. He is also President of CSCi Multimedia and the Executive Producer of Actors Scene Unseen. In 1997, in cooperation with NPR, he produced the award-winning Internet SynchroCast ® of Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration, live from New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He has produced over 50 Actors Scene Unseen full-length radio shows and 5 commercial Audio CD products. 
Vita studied cinema arts at the Young Filmmakers Foundation in New York and New York University. For two years running, Vita has studied lighting, sound, and projection design with Broadway masters Jules Fisher, Kevin Adams, Wendall K. Harrington, and Abe Jacob. Vita's company Actors Scene Unseen is a full voting member in the Grammy Recording Academy's Producers and Engineers Wing (NYC Chapter). When not on or back stage, Vita applies his background and talents in computer systems to the developement of proprietary software for Internet broadcasting, lighting / projection design and presentation, and sound reinforcement.




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