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Written by Trevor Allen
Directed by Laura Moreno
Produced by Rob Melrose and Victoria Beauray Sagady

In the fall of 2020, photos and videos of the 91-year-old Charles Krohn teaching The Odyssey by zoom to students at the University of St. Thomas went viral. Charles had been a long-time member of the Alley’s Resident Acting Company and we took his real-life story as inspiration and commissioned playwright Trevor Allen to create a virtual, fictional work for Charles to star in. Please enjoy Charles Krohn in The Odyssey of Professor Blume.

watch the viral news story on good morning America


Alley Theatre Artistic Director Rob Melrose
Alley Theatre Artistic Director Rob Melrose


I’m so excited for you to experience our most recent project for Alley@Home just in time to prepare you for our production of Derek Walcott’s The Odyssey. After the success of our digital season in 2020-21, we wanted to figure out how to keep our filmed projects alive even while we went back to being fully onstage on our Hubbard and Neuhaus stages.

Charles Krohn has been a beloved member of the Resident Acting Company (now Emeritus) for decades. At the bottom of this webpage is a link to my interview with Charles which gives a great sense of his career, his incredible mind, and delightful sense of humor. For much of Charles’s acting career, he has also taught at the University of St. Thomas and one of his favorite works to teach is Homer’s Odyssey. During the darkest days of the pandemic, my heart was warmed by a photo Charles’s daughter Julia Krohn (currently playing Kathy in our production of Cowboy Bob) took of Charles teaching The Odyssey to his students over Zoom. There was something so compelling and heartening about a 91-year old professor making the pivot to online teaching during the height of the lockdown to teach the poem that he is most passionate about: the over 2500 year old poem The Odyssey. For me, it symbolized how the stories we tell each other endure even in the most challenging circumstances. This poem has endured the burning of the library of Alexandria, the dark ages, plagues, and now a global pandemic. Julia’s photo went viral on the internet and then was featured on Good Morning America.

I commissioned my longtime collaborator and friend Trevor Allen (The Creature, Chain Reactions, Tenders in the Fog) to write a play for Charles to be filmed for our Alley@Home program. The idea was that the play would be about a professor teaching The Odyssey online during the pandemic, but like Chekhov’s short play On the Harmfulness of Tobacco the idea is that through the lectures we actually learn as much about the teacher himself as we do the course he is teaching. Now Charles is not Professor Blume of course, but the story that Trevor weaves in with his analysis of The Odyssey is equally compelling. What excites me the most, however, is that it serves as the perfect companion piece to Derek Walcott’s The Odyssey and can either be watched before you see the play to prepare or after you see the play as a way of getting more deeply into it.

Like Charles, The Odyssey has been an important part of my life since I first read it when I was in my twenties. It is something I keep coming back to and I even learned Ancient Greek so that I could read it in the original. It is endlessly fascinating and for every moment I spend getting to know it better, I feel I’m rewarded a thousandfold. We are getting ready to announce our Alley All New Festival and I don’t want to scoop myself, but I will give the hint that we are doing a reading of a new play that has yet another intriguing Odyssey tie-in.

I hope you enjoy the time you spend online with Professor Blume and find it as richly rewarding as I do.

Rob Melrose

Fa20 Classics 101: The Odyssey
Professor Blume


Not on campus due to COVID

Office hours:
Virtual – by appointment only

Assigned reading:
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald 

Recommended Viewing:
Alley Theatre’s production of The Odyssey by Derek Walcott,
running March 24-April 23, 2023

Buy Tickets

Alley at Home

Watch All the Episodes of The Odyssey of Professor Blume


Episode 1:
Alpha – A Goddess Intervenes

Episode 2:
Beta – A Heroes’ Son Awakens

Episode 3:
Gamma – The Lord of the Western Approaches

Episode 4:
Delta – The Red-Haired King and his Lady

Episode 5:
Epsilon – The Sweet Nymph and the Open Sea

Episode 6:
Zeta – Drowning in the Wine Dark Sea

Episode 7:
Eta – Gardens and Firelight

Episode 8:
Theta – The Songs of the Harper

Episode 9:
Iota – New Coasts and Poseidon’s Son

Episode 10:
Kappa – The Grace of the Witch

Episode 11:
Lambda – A Gathering of Shades

Episode 12:
Mu – Sea Perils and Defeat

Episode 13:
Nu – One More Strange Island

Episode 14:
Xi – Hospitality in the Forest

Episode 15:
Omicron – How They Came to Ithaka

Episode 16:
Pi – Father and Son

Episode 17:
Rho – The Beggar at the Manor

Episode 18:
Sigma – Blows and a Queen’s Beauty

Episode 19:
Tau – Recognitions and a Dream

Episode 20:
Upsilon – Signs and a Vision

Episode 21:
Phi – The Test of the Bow

Episode 22:
Chi – Death in the Great Hall

Episode 23:
Psi – The Trunk of the Olive Tree

Episode 24:
Omega – Warriors, Farewell

A Conversation between Charles Krohn and Alley Artistic Director Rob Melrose

Cast and Creative Team

Written by
Trevor Allen

Trevor Allen Headshot

Directed and Costume Design by 
Laura Moreno

laura moreno

Charles Krohn

Charles Krohn

Cinematography and Editing
Victoria Beauray Sagady