Explore JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
Jason and the Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece is a well-known Ancient Greek myth. Jason’s uncle Pelias murders his brother, King Aeson of Iolcus, and steals the Kingdom. Sent away as a baby, Jason has grown into adulthood away from the kingdom. Told of Pelias’ crime in a dream, he journeys to Iolcus to avenge his father. On his way, he helps Hera, disguised as an old woman, across a river and receives the goddess’ protection. Pelias is warned in a dream of Jason’s intent to reclaim the throne. To get rid of Jason, Pelias promises to give up the throne if he succeeds what he thinks is the impossible voyage to Colchis at the end of the world to retrieve the Golden Fleece in order to free the land from a curse. Jason gathers a crew, each with a special skill. His ship is named The Argo and his crew becomes the Argonauts.
On the voyage, the Argonauts are attacked by a terrible sea monster and a flock of birds with bronze arrows for feathers. When the shop reaches Salmydessus, Jason rescues King Phineas from the Harpies— creatures with the body of a bird and the head of a woman. Phineas tells Jason that to get to Colchis, he must sail through two gigantic rocks that crush anything that tries to pass between them. With the aid of a little dove, the Argo manages to make it through safely.
At Colchis, King Aeëtes arrests Jason, suspicious of his intentions. Princess Medea, who has had visions of Jason in a vision, falls in love with Jason, and promises to help him if he will marry her. Together, they slay the dragon that guards the fleece and set sail on the Argo.
When Medea and Jason arrive in Iolcus with the Golden Fleece, Pelias is shocked at Jason’s success. He refuses to give up the throne and challenges Jason to fight. Reluctantly, Jason faces off against his uncle, killing him. With Medea as his queen, he takes his rightful place as king.
Josh & Andy: Everyday guys with a fantastic and exciting story to tell.
Jason - The hero of the story, son of King Aeson and the rightful heir to the throne of Iolcus.
Euphemus - Helmsman of the Argo and a terrific swimmer.
Hercules - The strongest man in the world. He thinks he should be the captain of the Argo.
Hylas - Handsome, wise, and a warrior especially skilled with a bow and arrow.
Lynceus - A man with amazing vision who can see through trees, walls, and even under the ground.
Mopsus – A natural philosopher and an expert on animals and plants. He understands the language of birds.
Polydeuces - A skilled boxer.
Orpheus – The greatest musician and poet in the world.
Aeson - Jason’s father, King of Iolcus until he is killed by his brother Pelias. He appears to Jason in a dream.
Pelias - Jason’s uncle, who murders Jason’s father and had himself crowned king.
Chiron - A centaur (half-man, half-horse) who raises Jason after Jason’s father is murdered.
Soothesayer – A clairvoyant who is able to forecast the future; foretells of Jason’s first return to Iolcus.
Hera - Queen of the gods. She appears to Jason as an old woman he carries across the river.
Argus – Shipwright who built the Argo under the guidance of Athena, the goddess of war, wisdom, and craftsmanship
Medea - A princess with magical powers, daughter of Aeëtes, and one of the guardians of the Fleece. She falls in love and runs away with Jason.
Aeëtes - King of the Colchis and Medea’s father.
Ceto – A terrifying sea monster.
Phineas – King of Salmydessus, blinded by the gods and tormented by harpies as punishment for his ability to see into the future.
Harpies - Half-woman, half-bird creatures sent by the gods to torment Phineas.
Saurus the Dragon - A mythical creature who guards the Golden Fleece. He never sleeps.
This piece was created by a process of theatre making called devising. Methods can vary from project to project, but in general the play emerges through a collaboration among a group of artists using techniques from games to improvisation to crafting material installations. The process can begin with an idea, theme, or even just a decided-upon style of performance that a group wants to explore. For this production, the artistic team of a director, a playwright, two actors, and designers (set, costume, lighting, and sound) began with the narrative outline of the ancient myth, Jason and the Argonauts.
The group faced challenges such as:
• How can you tell the entire story of Jason and the Argonauts in a little over an hour?
• How do you tell an epic tale, filled with battles, monsters, and dozens of characters, with just two actors and little else? How will the audience be able to tell all the characters and locations apart?
• What’s the best way to make an ancient story exciting for young people and adults of all ages?
This production of Jason and the Argonauts comes from Visible Fictions, a company from Glasgow, Scotland. They tell this epic tale of ancient Greece using just two performers, a wooden cart, some simple props, and music and sound effects. The actors are dressed in ordinary clothing, and playfully act out one of their favorite adventure stories. Throughout the performance, you’ll see them switch back and forth between acting the story, joking around with each other, and talking to the audience. By using plain, everyday language and a fun, playful attitude, they remind us that tales of heroes, villains, monsters, and journeys of self-discovery belong to every generation.
In this production, just two performers play as many as 23 different characters. Sometimes both of the actors play the same character. In some places, they even trade off a character right in the middle of a scene! The production team found another creative solution for bringing more characters into the story: using modern action figures to represent some of the Argonauts.
If you don’t have much scenery and furniture to work with, how do you create a ship? A throne? A dragon’s cave? The star of the show (after the actors, of course) is an ingenious wooden cart, which can be moved around the stage, turned on its side, and separated into several pieces. There are flaps, extensions, and other elements that transform it into just about anything you can imagine.
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