Last month, The New Century School upper elementary students tried their hands at stagecraft. After completing a unit on Greek mythology in TNCS Language Arts and Global Studies teacher Kiley Stasch’s classroom, they wrote their own Greek myths. Working in groups, they were responsible for putting on a play and for everything associated with the production—from “behind the scenes” considerations like script, costuming, and props all the way through to performance skills such as voice projection and stage presence.
Ms. Stasch was thrilled with their work, saying, “They all did a great job. They started with a myth of their choice and were then asked to put a creative twist on it to act as a play lasting about 8 to 10 minutes.” Such twists, as you’ll read below, included mixing bits of modern times into the ancient tales. A Justin Bieber song might be playing in the background, for example, or dialogue might sound more like a Nickelodeon TV series than a traditional myth, or a chariot might be the preferred conveyance in one scene, a car in the next. The results are hilarious!
Ms. Stasch tends to use project-based learning in her classroom, an approach she says is very effective: “They aced their quizzes after so much hands-on work. It’s amazing how much information they retain!” This particular project was something she had done as a 6th grader and loved it.
Without further ado, here are three plays by the TNCS Troupe, with transcripts following each mythical masterpiece!
Idris: Today we will perform our twist on a Greek myth.
Chloe: Our myth is when Persephone, Demeter’s daughter goes to the underworld to join Hades.
Kathryn: We will put our emotion and drama into the characters we play.
Aidan: My character is Hades, and he is the god of the underworld and somewhat temperamental. Hades has a three-headed dog protecting the entrance to the underworld, named Cerebus. I will also play a farmer.
Idris: I am Zeus, I am the father of the Gods and I am Hades’ and Demeter’s brother. I am the god of the universe and am the most powerful God. I will also play Helios, God of the sun and Hermes, the God of travelers. He is quite mischievous.
Chloe: I am Demeter, Persephone’s mother. I am the Goddess of all harvest and all crops. I am also an immortal.
Kathryn: I am Persephone, Demeter’s daughter. I will also play Selene, Goddess of the moon and Helios’ sister.
Idris: I hope you enjoy our play
(One fine day)
Narrator: Persephone was out picking flowers for her mother when the ground suddenly opened and she fell into Hades grasp, whose two dark horses led him in his chariot up to the opening to capture her as his prisoner, or in his mind, his helpful queen.
(Persephone picking flowers and ground opening; Hades taking Persephone)
Persephone: AHHHHHHhhhhhh……let me go!! Who are you and where are you taking me? What are you doing fool!?
Hades: Settle down, I’m Hades the God of the underworld. From this day on, I will call you Queen Persephone, of the underworld. You will be my wife.
Persephone: NO! And how do you know my name?
Hades: Your mother is my sister, duhhhh! I know exactly who you are!
Hades: You did not know that? Why didn’t your mother tell you about me?
Persephone: No she did not tell me about you, now take me back to earth!
Hades: Do you think I’m stupid?
Hades: Well I am not. I will not let you go.
Demeter: Persephone it’s time for dinner (looking around, then goes up to the farmer) There’s a wondering farmer, I wonder if he saw where Persephone went. Have you seen seen where my daughter went?
Farmer: No I haven’t, but some of my pigs have disappeared this afternoon as well. It was very weird, the earth crumpled and a chariot pulled up to the surface and someone was in it. Than the chariot disappeared underground and the earth returned to its usual form.
Demeter: A chariot? It must be Hades! He must have taken my daughter! Helios, were you around when this happened? Did you see if Hades took Persephone down to the underworld? I cannot find her.
Helios: I did see that happen. While she was picking flowers, he suddenly appeared and snatched her down into the chariot.
Demeter: I knew it! I must go tell Zeus so that he will rescue Persephone from that kidnapper!
Helios: Yes, you must tell Zeus. Hopefully he can do something about it before it’s too late!
Demeter: What do you mean too late?
Helios: I’ve said too much, just go speak with Zeus. (He flys off)
Demeter: Wait! I need to know more!
Narrator: Back in the underworld, Persephone was demanding Hades to let her free. Hades would not budge.
Persephone: LET ME GO NOW!!
Hades: I cannot, you will be the queen of the underworld forever!
Persephone: No never. I will not be the queen, let me go. I must return to Earth my mom will be looking for me. It’s dinner time, my mom is making lasagna and I don’t want to keep her waiting.
Hades: I don’t really care, if you’re hungry, eat something here.
Persephone: No, I want to eat what my mother made me.
Hades: That’s not going to happen.
Narrator: On Mount Olympus, Demeter has just arrived to plead with Zeus for her daughter’s freedom.
Demeter: Hey Zeus can I talk to you a second.
Zeus: I am a little……
Demeter: GOOD! Hades took my daughter to the underworld. I need you to help me out. Hades will not budge unless you do something about it!
Zeus: I’m sorry there’s nothing I can do about it.
Demeter: Then I refuse to grow all crops and to harvest them until Persephone is returned to me. If this is how you want Earth to continue on as, than by all means sit back on your throne and be lazy by doing nothing.
Zeus: Fine……. I’ll see what I can do…….
Demeter: WELL GOOD YOU BETTER!!
(Zeus disappears, Hermes appears)
Narrator: Hermes, the messenger God was summoned by Zeus to fly to the underworld and free Persephone to Demeter’s will.
(Hermes flying to the underworld takes 30 seconds)
Hermes: Come on Persephone. I have come to save you. Come into my chariot and I will take you to your mother.
Persephone: Ok Hermes. Thank all Gods you came. I don’t know what I would do without you. Now let’s do this!
Hades: What? Why are you taking away my queen?!
Hermes: She was never yours to name as queen. Zeus has demanded her return to Earth.
Hades: Wait! First take this pomegranate. I know you said you were hungry, this will hold you over until you return home for dinner.
Persephone: Thank you, you finally did something nice.
Narrator: Back on Earth, Demeter was sobbing away. She was withering into an old lady as her crops suffered deeply. Roots had no water, the leaves were brown and drooping, and the poor old Demeter was no longer herself without her daughter around.
(Demeter knocking down the crops)
Demeter: UUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHH When is this rescue party bringing my daughter back. It better work! I cannot take it any longer, my depression is so deep.
Persephone: MOMMMMMM!!!!!! Thank all the Gods I made it back safely to you!
Demeter: Persephone is that you?! PERSEPHONE!! Oh how worried I was about you, come inside and change you must be freezing.
(backstage changing this is Persephone)
Narrator: That night, Persephone began to enjoy a few seeds from the pomegranate Hades had given her.
(Persephone eating the pomegranate)
Persephone: I feel strange. As though this pomegranate is urging me to be somewhere else. I don’t know what this means. (She lies down on her bed).
Narrator: Back in the underworld, Hades had kidnapped Persephone yet again. This time, with the mystical features of the fruit of the underworld.
Hades: Hello again queen.
Persephone: not again you, why are you picking on me?! Why have I returned when Zeus has demanded me back on Earth??
Persephone: HERMES, HELP! HERMES!!
Hades: You know he can’t hear you. Plus, you can’t go back.
Persephone: What do you mean?! (Plays Justin Bieber)
Demeter: Persephone, Persephone it’s time to go to bed. (Walks to her room) Oh no what’s up with this girl getting lost?? Oh no (picking up the pomegranate) Hades! Poor Persephone!! (picking up her dress and wiping her eyes.) That’s what Helios meant! Once she has eaten the fruit of the underworld, she will be stuck in the underworld forever! (She cries)
Narrator: Hades has now accepted Persephone as his forever queen now that she has eaten his precious pomegranate.
Hades: Persephone, you are now my forever queen because you ate six seeds of my pomegranate. By eating my fruit, you are bound to the underworld.
Persephone: But! But! You tricked me! That’s not fair! Please have a heart Hades. I cannot live without seeing my mother! (She sees Hermes enter the underworld again) Hermes! Have you come to rescue me again?
Hermes: I have spoken with Zeus, he has determined that since she only ate 6 seeds of the pomegranate, she gets to spend 6 months down in the underworld with you. However, she gets to spend the remaining 6 months of the year up on Earth with her mother.
Hades: WHAT!? Whatever…
Demeter:(crying) I hate everybody I just need Persephone back.
Narrator: Just as Demeter was crying out for Persephone, the Earth opens and Persephone emerges from the depths of the underworld.
Demeter: Persephone is that you????????????
Demeter: PERSEPHONEEE!!! I am so glad to see you. What did Hades do to you this time?
Persephone: I thought Hades was being nice by giving me a pomegranate, but next thing you know I started feeling funny and reawoke in the underworld.
Demeter: Oh the underworld again.
Persephone: yep, but I only ate 6 seeds, so I must spend 6 months down in the underworld but the other 6 months I can still return to stay here with you.
Demeter: Why, that’s really a shame. I wish Hades never gave you the pomegranate. For those 6 months of each year, I will be in mourning, withering away and the crops will grow no more. I call this new time of year winter.
Persephone: The months I stay with you can be green and lush. We can call this time of year SUMMER!
Demeter: Yes, well that’s great.
Persephone: So what should we do now?
Demeter: How about we go bowling.
Persephone: That’s cool.
Hephaestus and Aphrodite
M: Hello I am Aphrodite, the goddess of love. I admire Ares, though I am married to his brother Hephaestus. Zeus did not allow me to marry who I pleased as he did not want all the Gods to fight over me. It would most likely destroy Mount Olympus.
P: My name is Hephaestus. I am the god of blacksmiths and fire, and my wife is Aphrodite. I work in a volcano to make jewels for my beautiful wife.I also made the thrones of the gods. She deserves everything and more and I as the brother of Ares, I do not like that Aphrodite admires him so I must provide her with these handmade jewels. I am the son of Zeus and Hera and am the only one who is able to step between my quarreling parents and calm my short tempered mother, Hera.
G:(walks on definitely) Did someone say my name?I am Hera, Zeus’s first wife. I can be jealous and cranky, but I have every reason to be. When you have a husband as powerful and magnificent as Zeus, you have a tendency to have to worry about other women trying to steal him away. (storms off)
F: I’m the narrator as well as Zeus, the God of thunder, the King of Mount Olympus and the lord of the universe. I am extremely powerful and keep a bucket of thunderbolts beside my throne. I have chosen to share my power with not only my brother and sisters, but also my six children. I have many wives, though my first and most important wife is Hera.
G: I am Ares, the god of war. I can be extremely vain and it doesn’t sit well with me when I am defeated. I am known to sometimes have temper tantrums. Though my brother Hephaestus is known to be very kind, I am known to be just the opposite, as cruel as war itself.
(everyone walks off)
Narrator: On Mount Olympus, Zeus and Hera are rejoicing the birth of their new baby boy, named Heph.
Zeus: What a strong, beautiful baby boy!
Hera: I am so proud of the boy we have brought into this world. We can expect greatness from him.
Narrator: 15 years later
(Zeus and Hera are arguing, then the characters freeze)
Heph: As the only one brave enough to step in between my two quarreling parents, I must put a stop to this before anything gets out of hand.
Zeus: I can have more than one wife, I’m the mighty Zeus! She is not important to me, you have nothing to worry about.
Hera: I should be the only woman for you! You are so selfish!
(Heph approaches his mother and speaks to her quietly on the side apart from his father Zeus)
Heph: Mother, mother no need to quarrel, you are right, you should be the only one for father. However, father is trying to carry on the legacy so he can make more heroes to protect Earth. My sweet mother, father loves you more than he loves any other in the universe.
Narrator: Meanwhile, a beautiful Goddess was created from the foam of the sea. Aphrodite had many admirers, which made Zeus worry of the conflict it might cause on Mount Olympus. When she came up to Mount Olympus, Zeus was afraid that all of the gods would fight over her because of her wonderful looks.
Zeus: You must marry Aphrodite, son! I do not want her to cause trouble amongst the other Gods.
Hera: You can’t force marriage, and besides she thinks too highly of herself.
Heph: Oh it’s fine mother, I will gladly marry Aphrodite. Have you seen her?!
Zeus: Wonderful, it will be a perfectly paired marriage.
Hera: Are you sure this is a good idea, I want my son to be happy.
Zeus: I will call up Aphrodite right now! They will be sure to have a perfectly good marriage.
Narrator: Aphrodite has received the news from Hermes, the messenger God. She is not pleased with the idea.
Aphro: I have to marry him? He’s soo ugly (whispering)
Zeus: Yes, isn’t it wonderful? You will make the perfect couple.
Narrator: 7 days later, the two prepare for their wedding day.
Heph: Today is my wedding day! I am very excited to be married to Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman in the universe!
Aphro: This is a horrible idea I don’t want to marry him! You can’t make me! I would rather marry Shrek then this heinous man!
Zeus: NO, YOU WILL MARRY HIM!
Heph: Don’t worry father I will make jewels for her and she will be happy once again.
Zeus: I hope that works son.
Aphro: How can he make me marry someone I do not love? I love Ares, the god of war. He is so handsome and brave. I do not want my life to be with this fool!
Narrator: The family proceeds to the wedding and Aphrodite is handed off to Hephaestus.
Zeus: You may now high five the bride.
(Heph and Aphro walk out together)
Heph: I am making jewels for Aphrodite, I will win her love.
Aphro: He thinks he can win my love but I will always love Ares. And I know that somewhere in that handsome heart, he adores me too.
(Heph comes to Aphrodite’s sides and gives her jewels he has made)
Aphro: Thank you Hephestus for all the jewels! It makes me look even more beautiful than I already am. You really do work hard to please me.
Heph: Oh no problem my love! Anything for you!
Aphro: I might actually be getting something out of this marriage. He keeps giving me gold and other jewels. (Heph. walks out puts necklace on M’s neck)
Narrator: Several weeks later, Aphrodite is overwhelmed with all the gifts that Hephestus has given her. However, she is still infatuated with Ares and cannot hold her feelings in any longer. She has decided she needs to discuss her thoughts with her husband.
Aphro: Hephestus, I need to talk to you.
Heph: Yes dear, let me just put down my tools. I’m listening.
Aphro: I will just get to the point, well you know how I love all of the gold and beautiful things you provide for me, [pause] but I don’t know if I can ever truly love you. I just want you to have the best and be fair to you. I think we need to get a divorce.
Heph: What?! We cannot get a divorce, my father will be furious! He may even throw us off Mount Olympus because all the men may fight over you and cause ruckus amongst the Gods.
Aphro: I know your father thinks we’re perfect for eachother but not all thoughts are always true.
(begins to walk off; Heph stops her)
Heph: Wait! Are you sure you want to do this?
Aphro: Well, yes I do not love you, I love someone else. (Murmurs under her breath….I love Ares)
Heph: Well, whatever makes you happy. But Zeus will not feel the same way…
Narrator: In town, Aphrodite is spying on Ares. She wishes to meet him and for him to fall in love with her.
Ares:(has a mirror in hand) Who can be more handsome then me? That is right, no one!
Beggar: Is that you Ares?!
Ares: No you can not talk to me you are a dirty slob and your breath stinks like rotting fish,leave me alone!
Aphro: Ares, we are gods, we have to help the poor and unfortunate! (She turns to the beggar) Come here I will give you some bread.
Ares: oh goddesses think that we have to help everyone all the time!
Narrator: On Mount Olympus, Hephastus and Aphrodite are speaking with Zeus about their desired divorce.
Heph: Dad we have to talk to you.
Zeus: Yes son, I am a very busy man get on with it.
Aphro: We want a divorce. Unfortunately, I just don’t…
Zeus: What?! Make up right now!
Aphro: But Zeus, we cannot I don’t love him and he can not win my love this is the only option!
Heph: I think she is right I cannot be married to someone that does not love me. I will find my love someday.
Narrator: Ares and Aphrodite are on their first date. They have decided to enjoy a picnic together beside a pond on Mount Olympus.
Aphrodite: What a beautiful day. Look at how the clouds…
Ares: It is a beautiful day. I am lookin mighty fine (checks out his muscles in his reflection of the pond).
Aphrodite: umm. OK. Are you enjoying the food I packed?
Ares: It could use some more meat. (He suddenly stabs a rabbit hopping by)
Aphrodite: Why would you do that to such a sweet, innocent creature! We have some more meat in the basket. There was no need to be so cruel.
Ares: It’s just a little rabbit. I’ve killed far worse.
(Ares freezes with the rabbit in hand. Aphrodite speaks to the audience)
Aphrodite: Maybe I was too busy fantasizing about what a handsome God he is that I didn’t realize that he is such a cruel one. All he cares about is himself and his good looks.
Aphrodite: Look, maybe this was not such a good idea. Why don’t we just end it right now. I should get back to check my offerings.
Narrator: Two months later
Aphro: Hephaestus I have not seen you in 2 months I need to talk to you.
Heph: Yes how can I help you.
Aphro: I was wrong. I was too focused on the looks of your brother, I did not notice that you are truly the best for me. Do you forgive me? Are you still ok with being married?
Heph: Yes of course! This is a miracle, a dream I should say. I hoped this day would come.
Aphro: I am so glad that you have chosen to accept me back as your wife. I’ve got to say I was nervous that you weren’t going to say yes. Let’s go back to Zeus to give him the great news!
(The two walk out holding hands)
M: Thank you
G: That was the story of Aphrodite and Hephaestus!
P: Thank you for watching!
The Slaying of Medusa
Introduction of characters and their story
Narrator: The story starts on Mt. Olympus, home of the gods and goddess. Something mysterious has been going on. People have been turning into stone and the Gods are in panic.
Athena: This is peculiar, people are turning into stone.
Athena: Artemis come here!
Artemis: What happened!?
Athena: People are turning into stone! I don’t know what’s causing the transformation!
Artemis: Persephone get over here!
Persephone: What do you want!?
Artemis: I think Medusa is turning people into stone. I have seen her turn innocent people into stone before.
Persephone: Poseidon,get over here!
Poseidon: What’s going on?
Persephone: Medusa is up to her bad tricks. We must help the mortals and prevent the stone age!
Poseidon: At least it’s something reasonable to take me away from my trident throwing practice, but anyway, Ares get over here!
Ares: What’s going on!?
Poseidon: It’s Medusa, she has been turning people into stone and she thinks she’s gonna stop us from defeating her and preventing the stone age from occurring.
Athena: No way!
Medusa: Ha! You will have no victory over me. You have neither skill or knowledge to know how to defeat me!
(Medusa slips off stage)
Artemis: Uh, so what are we gonna do about Medusa?! She seems pretty eager to destroy our civilization. We cannot let this happen!
Athena: I know what we’re doing, we’re gonna kick her butt!
Ares: Okay, what’s the plan to go about doing that? And before we go, we will need weapons!
Athena: I don’t know, Persephone, any ideas?
Persephone: Maybe you can go to Medusa’s lair and slay her by surprise. It would need to be fast and unsuspected. We cannot look her straight in her eyes, as that is what causes people to turn to stone, but her reflection will do no harm.
Artemis: Ah! That’s the perfect plan! Yes Ares, we do need weapons, and I have just the thing.
Ares: We don’t need to worry too much about the dangers of the task due to the fact that we are immortal!
Persephone: I don’t like weapons and snakes, though I am willing to stand up for the mortals and Olympians since what she is doing is cruel and needs to be stopped by any means necessary.
Artemis: HEY! THOSE ARE MY SNAKES YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!!!! AS THE GODDESS OF ALL LIVING THINGS, YOU SHOULD WATCH WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!
Poseidon/Athena/Ares: Oh fine Artemis!
Artemis: NO NOT FINE, SHE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT MY SNAKES!!!!
Artemis: SORRY IS NOT GONNA CUT IT!!!!
Poseidon: Artemis drop it already, we have more important things to deal with right now. Ok so when are we going to leave?
Narrator: The Olympians go to find Medusa in her lair until they realize they have forgotten to consider one important thing, transportation!
(The Olympians all run wild on stage until they realize they have nowhere to run to)
Persephone: Wait! How are we gonna get there, and where is her lair? I have heard that it is across the sea, but I don’t know the exact location. I do know of the messenger God, Hermes, who is said to know the passage to any place in the world.
Poseidon: Ares, are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Ares: Yeeeahh! An Automobile!
Artemis: A DRAGON!
Athena: A HOVERBOARD!
Poseidon: Ares, how can we cross the sea in an automobile!!!?
Ares: Why don’t we just walk?!
Poseidon: How can you walk across the sea?!!!! We can’t all be like Zeus with nereids at his feet to polish the sea as a road to walk upon.
Artemis: WE FLY!!!!!!!!!
Artemis: Uh, I know I’m the master of animals, but I’m not sure if I’m the master of dragons and dinosaurs.
All of us: So why did you say dragon?!
Artemis: Because there is a dragon right there…
(Everybody but Ares starts running and screaming!)
Ares: Guys it’s just a baby dragon!
All of us: OHHHHHH!!!
(Poseidon slaps his head)
Athena: We still need a transportation!
Ares: Mama dragon!
Persephone: Let’s see if mama dragon can give us a ride!
All of us: NO WAY!!!!!!!
Persephone: As I mentioned before, I’ve heard of this guy named Hermes, and he is the messenger of the Olympians.
Artemis: Where can we find him?
Ares: As the messenger God, where else do we look other than the post office around the corner. Duh. Use your head guys!
Ares: Brilliant! I’ll go to the post office to see if Hermes is there now.
Hermes: I heard my name, does somebody need me?
Persephone: Yes we do need you Hermes, we need you to explain the way to get to the Gorgon’s lair.
Ares: Let’s just get on Poseidon’s ship and get the heck out of here!
Artemis: Hermes, which way do we have to go?
Hermes: First, you will need a ship. So if you have access to Poseidon’s then you will be good to go. Once you are in the ship, head East towards the rising sun until you reach the butcher stand in the middle of the sea. You will not see it approaching, it will catch you by surprise so keep your eyes peeled. Once you have reached the butcher, steer your ship North for another few miles. You will reach a giant statue in the middle of the sea that will look like a pig with an apple in its mouth and a sword twice the size of its body in its front, right hoof. The sword is pointing in the direction of Medusa’s lair. As you approach that direction in which the sword is pointing, Medusa’s lair will begin to appear out of the water.
Ares: Thank you Hermes! Good thing I have been writing this down! That’s a lot of specific things to remember!
Persephone: Thanks Hermes, I’m glad we know how to get there now, even though I still am fearful to see her head of snakes.
Hermes: I’m not FINISHED!
Persephone: Well, just as we see her lair start to appear, then what?
Hermes: You need to approach slowly and be very careful to watch for the rocks.
All of us: Thanks, Hermes!
Hermes: You’re welcome.
Artemis: So now we just have to find Medusa!
(Everyone hops on board the ship)
(Curtains open to show the Group on Poseidon’s ship arriving at Medusa’s lair)
Poseidon: We’re finally here. This is creepy…
Persephone: Talk about people that are turned into stone. I’m glad I’m not one of those Mortals.
Artemis: mmm…. I can smell the snakes now!
Persephone: That’s creepy.
Artemis: It’s not if you’re the goddess of all living things! Anyways let’s go.
Ares: Shush! Medusa is going to hear us if we keep this up.
(Ares says through gritted teeth)
Poseidon: It smells like snakes. Let’s get going.
Persephone: Oh, like we didn’t know that.
(Persephone goes off stage)
Athena: I hear someone coming..
Medusa: HA! GOT YOU! ALMOST EVERYONE IN GREECE IS TURNED INTO STONE!
Narrator: And they start battling Medusa.
(Athena/Artemis start shooting arrows)
Medusa: Seriously Athena, a pink and blue bow and arrow?
Athena: It’s all I could find in time!
(Poseidon strikes Medusa in the back)
(Ares slices Medusa’s head off)
Poseidon: You poser, that was MY PART!
Ares: Oh fine.
Narrator: And they come home after a long battle against Medusa.
All of us: Victory for the Olympians and the mortals of Greece!