The Glory of Athens
The humour and inspiration of the ancient Greeks
(one-man show script)

by JAMES TARIS

 

 

 

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James Taris
THE GLORY OF ATHENS
The humour and inspiration of the ancient Greeks

TESTIMONIALS

Hi 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 ...

I 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.

When 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.

The 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.

I 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.

Once 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 School, Canada)
***
Just 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)
***
Dear 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.
***
You 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, Canada)
***
James, I read your play and was very impressed with it. Tell me is there a little autobiographical slant in there? Fern
***
Honestly, 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
***
You are a genius! Its quite humorous! ... - DAMN GOOD! (stupendous even!) by the way, you have an incredible spirit dancing with you! Sandra

TESTIMONIALS

This 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. Dorie (Guam)

***

My 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 come. Best wishes in wherever and whatever life brings you! Cheers! Sam! (CHS)

***

James gave his first perfomance of his play in Bressuire last year [2003] 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 - Bressuire

***

I 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.***

 

REVIEW

This EXCELLENT play is well-written with ingenious theatrical techniques and provides a powerful spiritual message.

When 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.

However, 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.

We 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.

The 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.

The play's message, for me, was that in times of trouble, prayer works.

A 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


SYNOPSIS

The 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.

In 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.

Archimedes 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.

But 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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C O N T E N T S


Stage Preparation

Scenes

Opening

Demi ... modern day accountant for Athens Inc.

Character 1

Pericles ... Athens' most glorious ruler

Character 2

Archimedes ... Greatest mathematician and scientist of ancient times

Character 3

Socrates ... Athens' most famous philosopher

Character 4

Demosthenes ... ancient Greek public speaker

Character 5

Homer ... most influential writer of Western literature

Character 6

Odysseus ... Ancient Greek hero

Closing

Pericles ... does he save the glory of Athens?
Demi ... does he solve his own problem?

 

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Pub Date: 11/2005
80 pages
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