Athena, goddess of wisdom and inspiration, is brilliant, devious and insanely jealous. On one hand she inspired Odysseus to create the Trojan Horse which secured victory for the Greeks in the Trojan War. On the other hand, out of jealousy over Arachne’s talent at weaving, Athena shamed her into committing suicide. Arachne’s “sin” was that she boasted that her skill at weaving was hers alone; that she was a better weaver than Athena. When challenged to a weave-off Arachne did not back down, and Athena’s punishment was insidious –Athena simply mirrored Arachne’s hubris back at her and Arachne hanged herself.

Of their play about Athena, writing team Roberta D’Alois and Marilyn Harris Kriegel say, “We chose to write about Athena because while neither of us are virgins, we share personal attributes that Athena is known for. Just as she sprung from Zeus fully formed, we both have been grownups since early childhood, and we’ve been known to give the men in our lives headaches. Reading about these two strong and stubborn women, we found ourselves drawn to explore the dark sides of the attributes we admire. Although our play is set in modern times, it resonates with the ancient themes of competition and jealousy, privilege and power from the original myth. Our play is a political drama focusing on Marley Nathena, a prominent Silicon Valley CEO and political campaign donor, who is asked to head the search committee for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Intelligent and shrewd, Marley ingratiates herself with the putative Presidential nominee, and offers a large bonus donation to his campaign if she is chosen. However, the candidate appears to favor a charismatic although loopy and narcissistic young mayor, Rhea Weaver, whose sudden rise infuriates Marley. Under the guise of grooming her for the campaign trail, Marley elicits Rhea’s trust, with unexpected consequences for them both.”

ATHENA by Roberta D’Alois and Marilyn Harris Kriegel
Directed by Rebecca Longworth
Musical Direction by Bob Scott
staged reading on December 6, 2012 at 8 PM

Andrew Chung (Ernie)

Cameron Galloway (Rhea Weaver)

Carla Pauli (Alice)

Kim Saunders (Marley Nathena)

Richard Wenzel (Bob)

Sara Renauer (Stage Directions)

Roberta D’Alois is a monologist turned playwright who now enjoys writing about characters who live outside of her head. She has a B.A. with honors in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University in Waltham MA and is an honors M.F.A. student in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. Roberta is also the Artistic Director of Jump! Theatre, an organization whose mission is to present theatrical work based on authentic stories of mental illness. Her most recent work in progress, Arrested Melody had its initial reading at Boxcar Studios. Rapture Makes Perfect, a political fantasy, received Honorable Mention at the Theatre Bay Area Playwrights Showcase, and was featured at the Dramatists’ Guild Friday Night Footlights. While a resident artist at Z Space Studios, Roberta participated in the Z Space/Magic Theatre Magic Mondays reading series with Play Dirt, a full-length script about drug use in major league baseball. Roberta is a proud member of the Dramatists’ Guild. None of her plays to date have happy endings. She is working on that.

Marilyn Harris Kriegel witnessed more than 50 years between writing her first play in junior high school in New Jersey and her second as a graduate student at San Francisco State where she earned an MFA in playwriting. During the intervening years, Ms. Kriegel has worked as a schoolteacher, union organizer, writer, psychotherapist and yoga teacher. Her most recent play, Harm’s Way, presented this season by SF Playhouse’s Monday night reading series, was a finalist in the Aurora Theater’s Global Age Project. Her ten minute musical Lean & Slippered was part of the 2009 Woman’s Will 24 hour Playfest. She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

The artist who created the stunning Athena is named Emily Barber. You can see her beautiful gallery here!