Aphrodite washed up on the shores of Crete one fine morning, full-grown and breathtakingly desirable. She was born of the sea-foam, or, in more graphic terms, born when Uranus’ castrated genitals fell from the heavens into the sea. Aphrodite was quickly recognized as a goddess and given a throne as one of the twelve Olympians, with dominion over love and beauty. Zeus, recognizing that Aphrodite’s beauty had the potential to cause great turmoil amongst the gods, married her off to his son Hephaestus. Aphrodite quickly tired of her lame, hard-working husband and began a passionate affair with his brother, Ares. She also had flings with several other gods and mortals, including Hermes, Adonis, and Dionysus. In the meantime, she and her son Eros frequently influenced the loves of mortals on Earth. Aphrodite is also known for her role in the Trojan War. Because Aphrodite promised to make Helen fall in love with Paris, it can be said that she caused the war. She supported the Trojans throughout the years of fighting and particularly intervened to help Aeneas, her son by the mortal Anchises. Although the Trojans lost the war, Aeneas survived and became the founder of Rome. Thus, Aphrodite had her revenge. As she always does.

Of her play based on the Aphrodite myth, Marissa Skudlarek writes: “I have always loved classic movies and I believe that many of our culture’s ideas about love, beauty, and glamour derive from ‘Golden Age’ Hollywood cinema. At the same time, the Aphrodite-Ares-Hephaestus love triangle seems like something out of film noir: a beautiful woman, a sexy bad boy, a cuckolded sap of a husband. Thus, my 2012 Olympians Festival contribution, The Love Goddess, will reimagine Aphrodite’s story in the context — and the style — of 1940s Hollywood. In this version, Aphrodite is a gorgeous starlet, Zeus a studio boss, Hephaestus a talented filmmaker, and Ares a World War II hero. The play will take inspiration from real-life Hollywood personalities such as Rita Hayworth, Billy Wilder, and Orson Welles, as well as the timeless movies that they made.”

APHRODITE by Marissa Skudlarek
Directed by Sara Staley
staged reading on December 7, 2012 at 8 PM

Shay Wisniewski (Rosalie)

Paul Jennings (Zusskind)

Dan Kurtz (Fritz)

Brian Thomen (Harry)

Patrick Barresi (Actor)

Siobhan Doherty (Actress)

Stacy Sanders Young (Camera Directions)

Marissa Skudlarek is excited for a third year with the Olympians Festival, after serving as box-office manager in 2010 and writing the full-length play Pleiades in 2011. She also wrote the introduction for Songs of Hestia, the forthcoming collection of plays from the 2010 Olympians Festival. Skudlarek’s other full-length plays include Deus ex Machina (Young Playwrights Festival National Competition winner, 2006), Marginalia, and The Rose of Youth (Marilyn Swartz Seven Award and Vassar College production, 2008). Her shorter plays have been produced by San Francisco Theater Pub, Un-Scripted Theatre, and the San Francisco One-Minute Play Festival. She serves on the literary committee of the Cutting Ball Theatre and will provide dramaturgical support for the 2012 Bay One-Acts Festival. Skudlarek holds a B.A. in Drama and French from Vassar College. She blogs about theater, books, playwriting and more at marissabidilla.blogspot.com.

The beautiful image of Aphrodite was created by Kelly Lawrence. You can view her wonderful work here!