Heracles was Greek Mythology’s arguably greatest if not most popular hero. Heracles (or Hercules to the Romans) was the demi- god half son of Zeus. His many adventures, labours and battles almost always revolved around his legendary strength, physical prowess and courage. He is often depicted battling on behalf of mortals in some fashion against creatures of the underworld or aiding other great mythic heroes such as the Jason and the Argonauts and Odysseus. Unsurprisingly, Heracles was accounted possessing a great and voracious sexual appetite and took on many female and male lovers. Before his mortal death, he married four times and sired several children whose lineage carried his name past his life. His mortal end was recorded in Ovid’s epic poem Metamorphoses, where his human mortality was burned away in a tale of blood and fire leaving only his immortal godhood which arose to Olympus. In the entirety of his legend, Heracles had only one brother – Iphicles, his mortal twin half brother. They shared the same mortal mother, Alcmene. Legend states that Hera (who was a constant torment to Heracles) sent two snakes to kill the two newborns. Heracles first heroic act was strangling the two snakes as an infant saving himself and his brother. Iphicles most notable achievement was having a son, Iolaus who served as Heracles charioteer. Very little else is known about him.
Of their play, Heracles and the Things He Killed: The Hellenic Myth Busted. Team Thunderbird writes: Five monsters. Two Brothers. One Hero? The untold tale of Iphicles, twin half brother of Heracles and his very complicated relationship with his demigod brother and the monsters he killed.
Cancer, a giant crab, is noted as part of Heracles’ labors. Cancer had been sent by Hera to help aid the terrible Hydra with which Heracles was battling. As the crab was snapping at his feet, Heracles killed Cancer by stomping down upon him with his incredible might, smashing the crab’s shell. To commemorate his valiant attempt to help, Hera placed Cancer’s image amongst the constellations.
As his 11th labor, Heracles was required to steal some apples from the golden apple tree Hera had been given as a wedding present when she married Zeus. Hera planted the tree near Mt. Atlas and set the Hesperides (daughters of Atlas) to guard it. Because they kept picking the apples for themselves, another layer of security was needed, and Hera placed Draco the dragon around the tree to ward off poachers. Heracles killed the dragon with arrows tainted with poison (from the blood of the Hydra). The Celestial Draco now rests coiled around the sky’s north pole.
The Hydra, also known as the Lernaean Hydra, was one of the monsters slain by Heracles as part of his Twelve Labors. The Hydra is classically depicted as a multi-headed serpent like beast. It resided in the Lerna Lake and guarded an entrance to the underworld. It’s most popular characteristics was it could regenerate two heads for everyone one slain and its poisonous aspect especially its breath and blood. The poison was so potent that even after the Hydra’s death, its blood was still able to kill. Ironically, the great beast Hydra possesses many heads but does not speak with one voice. It is instead a fearsome chorus. A really loud and contentious chorus. They really don’t agree on much. Actually they don’t agree on anything. In fact, they pretty much hate each other. Seriously… it’s bad. Really bad. How bad? Let’s look at its last days before it’s death as it wrestles with bills, an unlucky census taker, and romance. I’m not kidding. Heracles did it a favor by killing the stupid thing.
Taurus, the Cretan Bull was another conquest of Hercules. Minos was crowned King of Crete with the help of Poseidon, but the sea god had a final test in mind for the new monarch. He sent a beautiful, white bull from the sea to Crete and demanded that Minos sacrifice it to him. The King was taken by The Bull’s magnificence and refused, sacrificing another bull in its place. Poseidon cursed King Minos’ wife, Pasiphae, to fall in love with The Bull. With a little help from the inventor Daedalus (father of Icarus), she lured it to mate with her as she hid inside a mechanical cow. She soon gave birth to the famed Minotaur. For Heracles’ seventh task, King Eurystheus set him to sail to Crete and capture The Cretan Bull. King Minos offered his assistance but Heracles refused, too prideful to accept the help. The Bull was not monstrous in the classic sense, being fairly normal aside from its pure-white coat, but it was particularly a troublesome and destructive pest around the island. Heracles conquered it handily and brought it back to Eurystheus. Reportedly, Eurystheus wanted to sacrifice The Bull to Hera, who refused to accept the sacrifice because it reflected glory on Heracles. It was then released and wandered around Greece until making its way to Marathon. Theseus, half-god son of Poseidon, was later charged to capture The Bull by Medea (yes, THAT Medea). He then dragged the poor thing back to Athens and sacrificed it. To add insult to injury. Theseus later traveled back to Crete and murdered The Bull’s only known child, the Minotaur. Not to mention that the constellation of Taurus is also credited to Zeus, who spent some time as a bull in an entirely different myth.
HERACLES AND THE THINGS HE’S KILLED by Team Thunderbird
staged reading October 6, 2011
Directed by Kai Morrison
Choreography by Xanadu Bruggers
Timothy Beagley (Actor 1)
Megan Briggs (Actor 3)
Kat Bushnell (Actor 4)
Alisha Ehrlich (Actor 2)
Neil Higgins (Actor 5)
Stewart Kramar (Heracles)
Jan Marsh (Nurse)
Nicholas Trengove (Ovid)
Richard Wenzel (Iphicles)
Bryce Allemann is a co-founder of the Thunderbird Theatre Company and has been helping produce, write and direct plays in San Francisco for over 13 years. Although the majority of his theatrical training during college had concentrated on Shakespeare, his professional efforts have been almost entirely original comedies. For last year’s Olympian Festival Bryce assisted in writing “The Life Poseidon” with his friend Dana Constance and his wife Kathy Hicks. Weekdays Bryce can be found performing help desk IT duties for KQED public radio & television. In the evenings, he is often found intoxicated from consuming too much artisan cheese.
Dana Constance is a modern day (read: mediocre) Renaissance Man. He writes silly plays; obsesses on abstract photography; loves to make a terrible pun or two just to annoy certain people and entertain the rest; plays sports with a passion; and made it his life’s job to change the paradigm of “Garbage in, garbage out” via the art of designing graphically. Dana has been on the board of the Thunderbird Theatre Company for six years now though he has had not one second of formal theatre training. He quite suddenly moved to California from New England in 1992 on a lark and somehow managed to make it work. He’s also been married for almost fifteen years to the same woman even though he has no idea how to make a marriage work. The one thing Dana does know is that he read The Iliad and The Odyssey at age 14 and has since had a great and deep appreciation for the Gods and Greek Mythology. In 2006 he co-wrote with Bryce Allemann the acclaimed Greek Myth remixed comedy Release the Kraken and is honored that No Nude Men has given him chance to expand his satyr play repertoire with Poseidon.
Kathy Hicks is excited to be involved for the 2nd year in a row with the SF Olympians. She is a co-founder of the Thunderbird Theatre Company, an aspiring accordionist and lover of good food.
Sang S. Kim has been a writer for his twin homes in New York and San Francisco for the past decade. A graduate of New York University, his work has been seen in the New York Fringe Festival and San Francisco’s SketchFest. His writing has been acclaimed and featured in the Village Voice, Time Out: New York, SF Weekly, SF Bay Guardian and the SF Chronicle. He is currently in the SF Playground writers pool at Berekely Rep’s, a company member for Thunderbird Theatre Company and Killing My Lobster as well as a contributor to the Asian American Theater Company. Outside of theater, he is a practicing immigration and nationality law attorney and was a congressional staff member for former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is his very serious biography but he usually writes silly bios but someone told him to knock it off for a change which he guess is warranted under the circumstance but would much rather talk about how to get to second base with Gary Busey.* (*bottle of pinot and over the shirt. Busey keeps it classy and so should you.)
Kai Morrison has been a Thunderbird for millenia. His primary activity is teaching people to kill and maim others onstage, though he occasionally does so himself. Recently, he has had the opportunity to write about killing/maiming people and compose music for both killings and maimings. He would like to thank Alex, Stuart, and his family, none of whom he has killed or maimed. He does not plan to do so.
About The Artist
C.S. Bauman has been a freelance artist for over 3 decades. His website