THE GLORY OF ATHENS
The humour and inspiration of the
James, As promised I'm getting back to you with a more detailed response
to your performance of "The Glory of Athens" at école
secondaire Confédération on January 9, 2004 ...
must confess that I was a little hesitant to have you perform the play
at first. I wasn't concerned about the script. I liked the text, having
read it online. I thought it had lots of humour
and the message at the end of the play is truly inspirational, challenging
viewers to believe in themselves without reservation. What made
me nervous was my knowledge of what a difficult audience high school
students can be, especially when a single person tries to hold their
attention for 90 minutes. We teachers find it a challenge to hold their
attention for far shorter periods.
you began your performance, however, my fears were quickly laid to rest.
You captured our students' attention with the
first line and never lost it. They laughed at the funny parts and listened
attentively to the serious parts, and I could tell that the applause
at the end was heartfelt. What impressed me most, however, was
the way the students interacted with you in the question period after
the performance. The quality of their questions showed how thoroughly
engaged they were by your play.
audience included about 40 grade 12 students ranging in age from 16
to 18, most of them being 17 years old. To tell the truth,
if I had known how good your performance was going to be, I probably
would have tried to include our grade 11 students as well. Although
there is some sexual humour in the play, I don't think any of it would
be shocking to teenagers who watch prime time television in North America.
For that matter, that type of humour is not unfamiliar to anyone who
has studied Shakespeare.
should mention that I gave a brief history lesson to our grade 12 students
the day before the play to furnish them with some background knowledge
about the historical and mythological characters in your play. I also
showed them a poster of the Parthenon so they would have that image
in mind when it was mentioned in the play. Though the students probably
would have understood your play without that lesson, I think the preparation
probably heightened their comprehension. For example, because I explained
the technique of Socratic dialectic to them, they were really able to
appreciate the humour of your parody of Socrates' argumentative tactics.
again, thank you very much, James, for performing your play for our students.
May all of your performances of "The Glory of Athens" be as
successful as the one at École secondaire Confédération.
Sincerely, Doug Janack (English Teacher, Confederation High
a quick note to say that our students' enthusiasm was confirmed during
further discussion on Monday. Donna and I have asked students to send
emails to you. Doug Janack (English Teacher, Confederation
High School, Canada)
James, Thanks for your performance of The Glory of Athens at our Cegep
de Granby (a French community college in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.).
My students really enjoyed it and I've asked them to send you directly
their testimonials. They were amazed that someone would actually do something
fun for them and for free. It boggled their minds. Oh, what a cynics we
are even young. The reaction was great, and even most of them are native
French speaking albeit advanced students, they still caught most of the
jokes. Thanks again, Jennifer Hanna, Professor of English,
Cegep de Granby Haut-Yamaska.
are a very good actor and I liked your play ..maybe if we can we will
see if we can put it on for a bigger audience when you return on the 26th..
A job well done. Betty-ann Power (Chairperson, LETS Niagara,
I read your play and was very impressed with it. Tell me is there a little
autobiographical slant in there? Fern
I haven't read all of the ACTS ... But the first three are but hilarious
... I finally finished reading all of the acts. ... But it was rude and
funny. ... Sort of Greek, sort of an American ... I must admit though
that it was beautifully written and no doubt it was beautifully performed.......
Congratulations. ... I like them all. However, the top three characters
for me were (not necessarily in order): Pericles( I've always enjoyed
this character), Odysseus and Socrates. But I also liked Demi's 'plea'
to God. Dorie
are a genius! Its quite humorous! ... - DAMN GOOD! (stupendous even!)
by the way, you have an incredible spirit dancing with you! Sandra
book (Glory of Athens) is a sure therapy for me. I've been reading
it in section to either start my morning or before hitting the
bed. The humour in it is just as inviting. I am about to replace
John Grisham ( The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief, The
Chamber, etc) and Dan Brown(DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, etc)
to James Taris as my preferred author/writer in this modern times.
name is Samantha, and I am a student at Confederation
High School. I was in the groupe of grade twelves
to whom you presented your play "The Glory of Athens"
on Friday, January 9, 2004, and I really enjoyed it, so I felt
I should let you know. I just wanted to send out a quick note
to say that I was really blown away by your presentation: the
acting, the humour, the play as a whole. It was really a wonderful
story, a beaufitul message, and a fantastic laugh. It's just what
we all needed on a Friday afternoon. I think I speak for everyone
when I say that I was very impressed by the play. It was a great
story line, and very well portrayed. We all had a lot of fun,
and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for having
wishes in wherever and whatever life brings you! Cheers! Sam!
gave his first perfomance of his play in Bressuire last year
 to a French audience. The audience, composed of both
students and adults, enjoyed his sincere depiction of Greek
Philosophy in contemporary life situations. We recommend his
play especially for students in the humanities. Roger
Desbois (secretary), Jean Kelly (president), SEL de Bocage -
would be pleased to endorse your play and any needs to promote
you and this amusing drama. I and many of my friends have enjoyed
your play, meeting and spending time with you. It certainly
has been an adventure I and my family will remember. You know
the girl, the 'I am a genius' one. Chonie (3) is still doing
her 'genius dance' for others. God go with you on your path
... Wishing you all the best in your endeavours. Yours in freindship
and LETS, Mary Beth Anger Sheffield. Community Legal
Worker and Community Developer.***
This EXCELLENT play is well-written with ingenious theatrical
techniques and provides a powerful spiritual message.
James TARIS visited LETS Niagara, we intended to use his motivational
skills mainly to promote the concept of Local Economic/Employment/Energy
Trading Systems among existing and prospective members.
we were also able to help him by arranging 3 public performances
of The Glory Of Athens, in a local High School, Church and,
for members and friends of LETS Niagara, in a private home.
are honoured to have played a small part in promoting this play
- he was definitely Called to write and act it and it deserves
to be performed widely.
play's history is similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, written
as a Winnipeg comedienne's stand-up comedy show. In the same
way, I predict that we will one day see The Glory Of Athens
on the silver screen - it's that good.
play's message, for me, was that in times of trouble, prayer
major side benefit to The Glory Of Athens, is that it's style
and technique help to explain ancient Greek history as something
worth studying, in fact, as interesting as modern soap operas.
The more we study history, the less we will be doomed to repeat
its lessons (and the ancient Greeks sure learned a lot of them!).
Ten Star Life Broker; Rotary Club of Fort Erie
(Secretary 2002-, President 2001-02, 1996-97); LETS Niagara
(Secretary-Treasurer 1997-); Scouts Canada leader 1986-2002
... Lorne WHITE, PORT COLBORNE, Ontario, CANADA
Glory Of Athens is a comedy on overcoming adversity that has
six Ancient Greek geniuses come back to life and display the
characteristics which made them so successful. The six characters
include Pericles, Archimedes, Socrates, Demosthenes, Homer and
Odysseus. The play has some hilarious monologues from these
six characters and Demi, a modern day accountant, who is burdened
with a seemingly impossible task. The year is 2004. And Athens
Inc. has chosen Demi to revitalise their ailing sales force
by giving them an inspiring speech leading them into a new era
of sales success. But sales is something Demi has absolutely
no knowledge of and is overwhelmed by his new responsibility.
a desperate bid for help, Demi prays to God, who sends the Ancient
Greek goddess Athena to his aid. She gives Demi a bag of magical
items which enable him to change into each character and go
back into time, around 440 BC, when the Parthenon was being
built, and see them in action, though not exactly how he'd imagined
them to be. Pericles teaches him how to tackle problems by soliciting
the help of the best minds available. So when the slaves threaten
to strike unless they can get more time off to watch Greek theatre,
he contacts Archimedes (by mobile phone) to invent the TeleVision
for him and then he contacts Rupert Murdochakis to provide the
programs for him. Unfortunately, Pericles' army suffers huge
losses in a recent battle, so he's now confronted with a much
bigger crisis than Demi's . saving the glory of Athens. So the
focus then turns to finding someone to help Pericles solve his
seemingly impossible task . restoring faith to his people by
addressing them with a reassuring public speech.
is self-centred and obsessed with his own genius, getting excited
about even his smallest achievements. And so determined to succeed
that he avoids bathing, and eating, so he'll have more time
for solving his mathematical and scientific problems. But he
can't help Pericles. Socrates has just been practising his arguing
skills with a sock used as a hand-puppet, toning up his repertoire
of clever arguments to confuse his opponents. He uses much philosophy
and wisdom in his monologue but is arrested by soldiers before
he can give Pericles the advice he needs. Demosthenes is a smooth
talker who has overcome a speech impediment by practising with
a mouth full of marbles. But even though he promises to help,
he suddenly loses his voice when choking on one of his marbles.
In desperation, Demi looks in his magic bag for a replacement,
and finds Homer. Homer is very inspiring and he shares, in verse,
how, even though blind, he was able to use persistence and perseverance
to realise his dreams. But he fails to make contact with Pericles.
Odysseus is Pericles' last hope. And when Odysseus finds that
Homer is rewriting his story, changing it from a one year absence
to 10 years, he spends most of his time trying to add encounters
with women to these new changes, finally, in a flash of enlightenment,
coming to conclude that we can have eternal glory by becoming
the best we can be.
although each character is placed in ridiculously funny situations,
they are all presented as strong role models for Demi, who gleans
a little from each one on his journey to tackling the problem
his company has burdened him with. And the play builds to a
very powerful conclusion, as we find out if Pericles can save
The Glory Of Athens, and if Demi can solve his own problem too.
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