Phaeton is often most well known for myth ending with a murderous thunderbolt. When his mother, Clymene, boldly reveals that Phaeton’s father is none other than Helios, the sun god, he leaves home to go to him. To prove his worth and try to match the saying “like father like son”, Phaeton convinces his dad to allow him to drive the treasured sun chariot. But an eager son does not unfortunately ensure a strong sun driver and his young inexperienced hands proved to be no match for flaming horses. After endangering Earth to a destiny of fiery doom, Phaeton’s failure to control the chariot caught the attention of Zues who killed him instantly with a thunderbolt to avoid any further damage; forever leaving behind his burning aspirations like a star asked to shoot across the sky.
The obsession and desire to become “a star” is an attitude that seems almost common in our modern times. And the pressure to fit into a parent’s fame and success is a reality many celebrity children find themselves subject to. “Phaeton: Charioteer to Stardom” surrounds a family in the music industry. An aging pop star mother (Klymene), a distant legendary record producing father (Helios), and their son (Phaeton) who was born with the gift of song but without the sense of how to use it. Tortured by talent, the reality of time passing, and the need to be forever remembered ultimately drive this one act about a boy trying to find his place among the stars.
PHAETON: CHARIOTEER TO STARDOM by Ashley Cowan
staged reading October 21, 2011
Directed by Ashley Cowan
Robert Cooper (Actor)
Jan Gilbert (Actress)
Kai Morrison (Phaeton)
Leota Tisdel Rhodes (Stage Directions)
Ashley Cowan is originally from Avon, CT and is a graduate of Roger Williams University, located in Bristol, RI, where she double majored in Communications and Theatre. After graduating she moved to New York City to pursue the stage but was offered a role in Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding in San Francisco two years ago and has been living, teaching, acting, and writing in the Bay Area ever since. Her most recent work includes Word War, produced by No Nude Men Productions as part of PianoFight’s ShortLived, and Athena in the first San Francisco Olympians Festival.
The image of Phaeton was created by Gintah Tran. You can view his portfolio, here.