Romulus and Remus are the twin son s of the Roman God Mars and Rhea Silva.
Rhea Silva was the daughter of King Numitor. Numitor was overthrown by his wicked brother, Prince Amulius. As King, Amulius banished Numitor and Silva to the temple of the God of War, Mars, where Silva would live as a vestal virgin, thereby ensur ing that no rightful heirs to the throne could be born. Mars visited Silva in a garden one night, and in some versions of the tale, they fell in love and were married (in others, they were not married) and they conceived twin sons, Romulus and Remus.
King Amulius learned of the twins, and sent two of his servants to kidnap them and drown them in the Tiber River. That very night, the servants crept into the room of the sleepin g children, lifted their cradle, and placed it in the Tiber River, believing they had carried out the king ’s bidding. However, the cradle had floated down river (to the site that would eventually become Rome) and rested on the bank under a fig tree (which has since become a powerful religious symbol). In some versions of the legend, Th e Father of the River, Tiberinus, saved their lives, and left them with a She – W olf and woodpecker to raise them. In others, they were discovered by the She – Wolf, who was overtaken with curiosity and motherly empathy, and it was the She – Wolf herself that decided to raise Romulus and Remus with her own pups. In time, the boys would start to venture out. A l ocal sh epherd, Faustulus saw the boys and was t aken ab ack by their wolf – like movement . One night, as the wolves slept, he crept in and brought the boys back home. He and his wife raised the boys, who never quite lost their wolf – like ways. As young men, Romulus and Remus had a strong sense of justice, and were known to ambush hig hwaymen and local thieves, returning the stolen goods to those who had been robbed. Tales of their exploits reached the ears of Numitor, who was living in practical exile at the far reaches of the northern kingdom. He asked his servants to get word to the twins that he wishe d to meet them. And so, Romulus and Remus traveled where Numitor instantly recognized them, and explained how his wicked brother had stolen their birthright. With the help of the farmers whose good s they had returned, Romulus and Remus took the castle by n ight. Amulius was killed, and Numitor was reinstated as King of Alba.
Romulus and Remus decided to build a city in the seven hills, near where they were discovered by the She – Wolf. However, they could not decide which hill to build the city. As is the case with brothers, thei r disagreement escalated. One of Romulus ’s supporters killed Remus (some say it was Romulus himself). In the end, the city was built and Romulus became the first K ing of Rome.
Of his approach to the story, playwright John Patrick Bray writes: Pat “Romulus” Burton is a high school tennis coach (go Wolves!) at the Charter School (possibly Cromwell High). A widower and sole earner for the household, Romulus has been taking advanced classes online at night, as he is keen to be hired as an administrator at the school (there’s a position open for Vice Principal, which comes with a pay raise). He is sacrificing time with his twin daughters, Jessica and Gillian, and his neighboring twin brother, Carl “Remus” Burton, in order to focus on his classes and responsibilities at the school. He learns that Carl, who is also a teacher at the charter school, wants to use his twin daughters to represent the Twin Towers to celebrate Patriot’s Day. Pat tries to stop Carl, as his daughters have been bullied throughout their time at school. The twin girls, however, have plans of their own – with the aid of her sister, Jessica attempts suicide during the pageant as a way of highlighting the hypocrisy of both their school and their blood relations. Chairman of the Board Claude Cromwell steps in, hoping to avoid a scandal. Pat sides with his daughters, and sues the school for allowing bullying and nationalist pride to take the place of decency and critical thought in the school. The Charter School, being a business, is protected, and both Pat and Carl are fired. Humiliated, Carl is unable to find a job for himself, and so breaks ties with his brother. Pat becomes a Superintendent of the Public Schools and, with the help of his daughters, brings reason, critical thought, and compassion to the curriculum.
ROMULUS by John Patrick Bray
Directed by Juliana Lustenader
Staged Reading on October 11, 2018 at the EXIT Theatre
John Patrick Bray has written plays under grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Acadiana Center for the Arts; and has earned commissions from theatre companies around the country. His plays include Friendly’s Fire, Liner Notes, Hound, Donkey, Christmas in the Airwaves, Goodnight Lovin’ Trail, and Erik (A play about a puppet). His plays have been developed with The Actors Studio, The New School for Drama’s Drama Alumni Play Project, The Word at The Road Theatre, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, The Process Theatre, and Athens Playwrights’ Workshop; and have been produced Off-Off Broadway (including productions at FRIGID New York, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, and Planet Connections Theatre Festivity), and with theatre troupes and festivals around the U.S. His play Friendly’s Fire was the winner of the 2015 Appalachian Festival of Playwrights and Plays and received its World Premiere at Barter Theatre in 2017. In addition, Bray has been a Finalist for the Ingram New Works Festival, the Kernodle Playwriting Award, and the 2010 Playwriting Residency at Hangar Theatre; and a Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship Award, Generations at Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, nuVoices at the Actors Theatre of Charlotte, and the Christopher Brian Wolk Award at Abingdon Theatre. Brays’s plays and monologues are published with Next Stage Press, Original Works Publishing, Polychoron Press (which published an anthology of Bray’s short works), and anthologies published by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books and Smith and Kraus. He adapted his play Liner Notes into a feature film (with twin brother, Gregory) which was an Official Selection of the Woodstock Film Festival, Hoboken International Film Festival (Finalist, Audience Choice Award), and won First Place for Full Length Narrative Film made by Faculty at the 2016 BEA Super-Regional Conference. Liner Notes is available to stream (rent or purchase) on amazon (dot) com. His book, Inciting Incidents: Creating Your Own Theatre from Page to Performance, is available with Kendall Hunt Publishing. For his editorial work with Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, John is represented by June Clark with FinePrint Literary Management. John is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, an Equity Membership Candidate, and an assistant professor at the University of Georgia. John has an MFA in Playwriting from The Actors Studio Drama School at The New School and a PhD in Theatre Studies from Louisiana State University.