Aphrodite, called Venus by the Romans, was the goddess of love and beauty, born from the sea foam as it came into contact with the blood and sperm from the severed testicles of Ouranos, the god of the sky, following his emasculation by Cronus. All three fluids met where the surf broke on the shore of the island of Cyprus, which leads some to believe Aphrodite came into the Greek culture from the Middle East and also earned her the name “Cytheria”, meaning “woman of Cyprus”. She was married to Hephaestus but carried on an open affair with his brother, Ares, and was romantically linked with many other gods and mortals as well, including Adonis, Hermes, Ancheisis and Apollo. Her children included the god of desire, Eros (Cupid) and Aeneas, one of two princes of Troy to survive the Trojan War and the traditional founder of Rome. Both Julius and Augusts Ceasar claimed to be direct descendants of the goddess. Her symbol was the hand mirror and her sacred animal was the dove.

APHRODITE by Nirmala Nataraj

staged reading July 23, 2010

Directed by Cassie Powell

Molly Gazay (Aphrodite/Cytheria)

Leigh Shaw (Psyche)

Ross Pasquale (Eros/Baxter)

Jan Marsh (Hestia)

Jennie Gebhardt (Alethia)

Kai Morrison (Ned)

Stuart Bousel (Judd)

Nirmala Nataraj is a San Francisco-based critic and playwright. She has written about arts, entertainment, and lifestyle for publications including ArtWeek, ColorLines magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, Theatre Bay Area magazine, and American Theatre magazine, which granted her a 2008/2009 Bay Area Commissioning Fund. Nirmala is also a former board member of San Francisco ’s Kearny Street Workshop, the nation’s oldest multidisciplinary Asian American arts organization. As one of the original members of grassroots theatre company No Nude Men Productions, Nirmala’s work has been featured at the Climate Theatre, EXIT Stage Left, Femina Potens, the San Francisco Theater Festival, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is also the producer, director, and writer of two short films: “Respectable Hedonism” (2001) and “Identify My Destiny” (2005).

Poster Artist Information: The poster for Aphrodite was created by David Burrola. Visit his portfolio website.