Students will love this hilarious take on Greek mythology! From M.C. Orpheus’s “spin-technique” to Midas’s misfortune to Narcissus’s Beauty Creme, mythology runs a wonderfully slanted course.
Novelist, poet, playwright, performer, and screenwriter, John Biscello, is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables paired with the vintage illustrations by artist Paul Bransom for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ. He is the founder and director of the Taos Youth Ensemble, a theater collective, and as an independent drama educator, he has worked in various schools, creating plays with grades ranging from K through high school.
Excerpt from the play:
ZEUS – Big Daddy of Olympus
HERA – Take-no-prisoners wife of Zeus
ORPHEUS – Mixmaster and D.J.
ATHENA – Fierce daughter of Zeus
SCOOP McMYTHEM – Reporter
MINOTAUR – Poet and sensitive soul
THESEUS – Misguided warrior
EURIDICE – Underground girl
ICARUS – Winged Youth
DAEDULUS – Maker of wings
SPOKESPERSON for NARCISSUS BEAUTY CREAM – Commercial Rep
NARCISSUS – Vanity incarnate
KING MIDAS – King with gold fever
DIONYSIS – Party dude
GUARD 1 & GUARD 2 – Midas’s guards
ZOE – Midas’s daughter
SETTING: Ancient Greece
(ZEUS enters, accompanied by ORPHEUS.)
Yo-yo-yo, lower-totem mortals,
it’s the one and only Big Papa Zeus,
comin’ at ya live from the top of Mt. Olympus.
I’m here with the original spin doctor himself, M.C. Orpheus—
(ORPHEUS gestures: What’s-up.)
Who’s gonna hit us off with today’s Mythology Mash-up? You ready to mix it up?
ORPHEUS: (jams knuckles with ZEUS)
Let’s get to mashin’ Big Papa.
(ZEUS stops, in pain, clutches his head.)
What is it, Zeus?
I suddenly have a splitting headache.
(ATHENA emerges from behind ZEUS, a pacifier in her mouth.)
Where did you come from?
From your head, Daddy.
That’s right. I’m your brand-new, fully-grown daughter, Athena.
I can see the resemblance. She’s got your brains.
Everyone’s a comedian.
(HERA enters, upset.)
Uh, yes, dear sweet Hera, the light of my life!
Save it, Thunder-boy. Who’s she? (points to ATHENA)
She’s our new daughter, Athena. She came from my head.
You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, mister. And you— (points to ATHENA)
I didn’t do anything!
Don’t sass me, young lady.
ATHENA: (to the audience)
I was born like ten seconds ago and already I have mother issues.
(ATHENA storms off.)
Great, just what Olympus needs, another daddy’s girl.
(HERA storms off.)
I wonder if Odin has these problems.
(ZEUS exits. ORPHEUS pantomimes D.J.-scratching. The “scratch effect” comes from a keyboard or recording off-stage. ORPHEUS exits, scratching.)