Zeus, also known as “The Father of Gods and Men” and Jupiter or Jove to the Romans, was the supreme deity of Ancient Greece, second only to Hestia in the breadth of his worship from city-state to city-state, household to household. The son of Cronus and Rhea, he led the other Olympians in battle against the Titans, thus winning him dominion over the sky and earth. He is the god of thunder, lightning, weather and power, and the father of numerous gods, heroes and famous mortals including Heracles, Perseus and Helen of Troy. Among his many powers was the ability to take on almost any shape and to transform others against their will. His symbol was the thunderbolt, his sacred animal was the eagle, and his favorite tree was the oak, which was said to dispense his wisdom via the rustling of its leaves in the wind.
Helen Noakes’ play Zeus Story takes place fifteen years after the Trojan Wars in the tiny kingdom of Theeria, near Corinth. Replete with a mystical forest surrounding the palace of its king, Porfiris, who was at Troy, Theeria is full of secrets. Its queen, Caliope, claims that Zeus fathered her son, Antaeus, while her husband was off at war. Now sixteen, Antaeus is in a hurry to become a mythic hero and have a constellation named after him. Desperately searching in the forest for marching orders from any god or a monster to slay, he encounters a goddess and a monster, neither of whom is what they seem, but each teaches him a surprising thing or two. His fourteen-year old sister, Lysistrata, joins him in his quest, bringing with her a belief in magical love and a revulsion for war. The “monster”, who calls himself Cringe, and has his own agenda, tags along. Through a series of unexpected events, everyone, including Zeus, finds a few surprises, as secrets are revealed. Or are they? Some secrets are best left hidden or all magic would be lost, and Zeus knows that would make life such a bore!
ZEUS by Helen Noakes
staged reading July 17, 2010
Directed by Joe Weatherby
Joe Miller (Antaeus)
Ben Euphrat (Cringe)
Theresa Miller (Lysistrata/Hestia)
John Mercer (Porfiris/Zeus)
Megan Briggs (Terpsichore/Aphrodite)
Sondra Putnam (Calliope/Hera)
John Harrison (Stage Directions)
Helen Noakes’, first full length play, Memento Mori, was selected as a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s 2009 National Playwrights Conference. Her shorter plays and works in progress were selected six times for Will Dunne’s New Writers/New Works Series presented at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, and in 2007, a staged reading of Memento Mori took place at The Mariposa Studio in San Francisco. Her non-fiction has been published internationally, and she has had an on-line op-ed column, Waking Point, published for two years at Officialwire.com. The column shall appear in a new publication this year. She continues to write plays, having completed Zeus Story in 2010, and is writing a novel, which is currently being developed with a writer’s group at the Mechanics’ Institute Library. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and Playwrights of Promise, and continues developing both full length and short plays at Will Dunne’s Dramatic Writing Workshops.
Poster Artist Information: The artist who created Zeus is Brett Grunig. Visit his website here.