JAC Publishing & Promotions

 

Zeus's Women by Jeffrey Neuman

ISBN #1-60513-221-7
JAC #2013-0005

 

Cast of Characters

  • HERA: Wife of Zeus, and queen of heaven

  • EUROPA: Former paramour of Zeus

  • ATHENA: Daughter of Zeus, and Goddess of wisdom

  • APHRODITE: Daughter of Zeus, and Goddess of love

  • MNEMOSYNE: Former wife of Zeus, and Goddess of memory

  • IO: Paramour of Zeus, a young woman, early 20s

  • CHORUS: Comprised of the six actors in the play

Synopsis
Through a series of interrelated monologues delivered by some of the most unforgettable women in Greek mythology, Zeus’s Women breaks down the barrier between ancient times and our own modern world to show how love is heroic and tragic, funny and heartbreaking. The characters in this play may be thousands of years old, but as they describe their individual and collective relationship with Almighty Zeus, ruler of Olympus, the audience becomes acutely aware of the fact that when it comes to interpersonal relationships, we have not come as far as we think.

 

The Setting
Limbo. There is a distinct disregard for time and historical accuracy in this script; when translated into performance, antiquity and modernity should purposefully collide.

 

A Note from the Playwright
My fascination with Greek mythology dates back to an adolescent experience with Clash of the Titans, a movie I watched on VHS in a wood-paneled “rec” room along with three friends. I was just eleven years old when I saw the movie, and the herky-jerky stop motion of the titular titans was somehow magical and transporting. I fell in love with the stories, with the characters, and, most of all, with the world of Olympus which somehow seemed both a part of our world and apart from it. Watching Harry Hamlin battle Claymation beasts may pale in comparison to today’s CGI technology; for me, however, it was an initiation into a new world.

When I began writing plays I found myself returning, again and again, to stories of the Greek gods and goddesses. Especially the goddesses. Despite the fact that they were ancient deities, there was something about them that felt profoundly human and surprisingly modern to me. They experienced a range of emotions from petty jealousy to unadulterated love, from debilitating insecurity to awe-inspiring self-assurance. I related to these women. I knew these women. Hell, I’d shared long conversations over bottles of Chardonnay with these women. True. In fact, I vividly remember one lunch date where I sat listening to a friend recount the ebb and flow of her most recent relationship. Midway through her story I thought, “Wow! That so reminds me of Daphne and Apollo.” The relationship may have started on match.com rather than Mount Olympus, but I found the emotional and narrative parallels between the two stories almost dumbfounding. After that lunch date, I began to see it everywhere – the modern in the ancient and the ancient in the modern. It was a stunning realization for me as a writer! And, just like that, the idea of Modern Goddesses sprang fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. I needed to write something that explored modern relationships through ancient eyes (Zeus’s Women) and an ancient relationship through modern eyes (Silent Night).

The two plays in
Modern Goddesses vary incredibly in tone and dramatic structure; however, in addition to the fact that they are both inspired by Greek mythology, they also share a stylistic convention – they are both monologue based pieces. I know there is a great challenge with monologues because dramatic action should unfold, as the maxim states, by “showing not telling.” I believe in this axiom and embrace it whole-heartedly; however, I also believe that there is a “showing” that can be done through monologue that makes it one of the purest forms of theater. That is, it invites an actor to make a brave, bold, intimate connection with an audience in real space in real time. Monologues may be employed in film, but they truly only live on the stage.

Modern Goddesses was an opportunity for me to unite two of my loves – mythology and monologue. I hope it provides your production company the opportunity to create a dynamic piece of theater. More than anything else, though, I hope it provides seven actresses the opportunity to shine.
- Jeffrey Neuman
 

 

This title is also available combined with Neuman's short play/monologue Silent Night in the collection Modern Goddesses.

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Jeffrey Neuman's "Zeus's Women"

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About this Playwright
As a director and dramaturg, Jeffrey Neuman has worked for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He has presented professional papers for the Association for Theater in Higher Education, the American Alliance of Theatre Education, and the American Music Research Center. Recently, his original research was acknowledged in the book Kander and Ebb, the newest installment in Yale University Press Broadway Masters series. Jeff’s plays have been produced at theaters and festivals across around the country. His most successful play, Zeus’ Women, was presented at the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region in 2007. It was also performed in Salida, Colorado, by Stage Left Theater Company both as part of the group’s one act play festival and as their official entry in the Colorado Community Theatre Coalition’s state festival, where it garnered several awards. In 2000, Jeff helped to develop Paul Revere: The Voice Heard ‘Round the World, a children’s play commissioned by the Denver Center’s acclaimed Wilbur J. Gould Voice Research Center as part of an outreach program to teach children about vocal health. The play was performed in a number of elementary schools in and around the Denver metro area, reaching over 40,000 students. Although born and raised in New York, Jeff is now based out of Denver, Colorado. He is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild of America. Information about all his writing activities can be found at www.theaterbyjeff.com
 
 
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