Argonuts: Jason & the Quest for the Golden Fleece
Full Length Play, Comedy / 10m, 13f, 5boy(s) or girl(s)
A creative, innovative, and truly hilarious version of the ancient Greek myth of Jason and his heroic quest for the Golden Fleece.
It's funny, easy to produce, tells a classic story and gets a ton of kids on stage. In other words, it's the show you've been looking for. It's ARGONUTS! A cast of 17 girls and 12 boys play nearly 40 characters to tell a creative, innovative, and truly hilarious version of the ancient Greek myth of Jason and his heroic quest for the Golden Fleece.
The story is loosely based on the epic poem “Argonautika” composed by Apollonius of Rhodes in the 3rd Century BCE. The staging described in this script - i.e., the extensive use of blackouts and spotlights, the “god” and “king” platforms, etc. - reflects the first production. Simpler or more elaborate stagings are certainly possible.
A CHORUS OF ANCIENT GREEKS AGREE!
"The funniest show I never saw!" - Homer
"Full of surprises!" - Ulysses
"Soared beyond my highest expectations" - Icarus
"Amazing! I couldn't believe my eye" - Cyclops
"Even more wonderful than me!" - Narcissus
"Don't myth it!" - Zeus
NOTE ON COSTUMES/PROPS: The centaur can be created very effectively by simply renting a two-person horse costume and skipping the head part. Medea’s costume must be sleeveless for the love potion injection bit. Talos should be as thoroughly bronzed and robot-like as possible. If he is masked, his voice can be provided from a mic offstage. The Skeleton Soldiers can wear skeleton bodysuits and masks, i.e., store-bought Halloween costumes. If the backs of their costumes are solid black, they can “disappear” by facing upstage and then serve as kurogos for the Poseidon Rising scene. The Old Ram can be either a person in a ram costume (easy to construct out of woolly material and a black hooded sweatsuit) or a ram puppet operated by a kurogo (tricky). The Argonauts’ oars can be constructed with narrow, pointed paddles so they can also serve as spears.
NOTE ON THE SNAKE: The snake puppet can be constructed in various ways. In the premiere, its body was made from a series of 6” X 8’ and 8” X 8’ flexible aluminum ducts, painted green and bent into shapes that fit neatly around the DS sides of the god platform. The pieces came apart easily so stagehands could strike them quickly during a blackout. The snake’s neck was an 8” X 8’ duct with a PVC pipe running through it that had a lightbulb attached at the top. Its head was crafted from chicken wire and its eyes were red gels. By connecting the light to a dimmer, the snake’s eyes glowed, then dimmed and went dark as it fell asleep during the lullaby. A puppeteer hidden behind the god platform held the protruding end of the PVC pipe to raise, move, and lower the head/neck unit.
- Mild Adult Themes
- Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
- Time Period: Greek; Roman & Biblical
- Duration: 105 Minutes
SET PIECES: The Clashing Rocks were two carved and painted styrofoam rock faces mounted on wheeled frames. Their movement as described in the script was effective, though the rocks as well as the pantomimed ship can be done differently. For the bulls in Act Two we used 5’ X 5’ Chicago Bulls logos mounted to foamboard. They got laughs because the production took place in the Chicago area. When produced elsewhere a different design might work better.
- Additional Features: Play w/ Music, Puppetry, Stage Combat, Special Effects
- Features / Contains: Fantasy Costumes, Period Costumes
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: Easy
- Chorus Size: No Chorus
Casting10m, 13f, 5boy(s) or girl(s)
THE POET - The narrator of the story (male or female).
JASON - A young man in his teens; not the heroic type in appearance.
MEDEA - The beautiful young granddaughter of Queen Æetes.
PELIAS - The king of Iolcus; Jason's uncle.
HERA - The queen of the gods.
CHIRON - A centaur (half-man/half-horse); Jason’s foster father and teacher.
PHINEAS - A paunchy old m
an; speaks with a New York Jewish dialect.
ALCESTIS - The elder daughter of King Pelias.
ASTEROPIA - The younger daughter of King Pelias.
ORPHEUA - An Argonaut; a singer and rock star of the ancient world.
HERCULES - An Argonaut; the world’s strongest man.
CASTOR - An Argonaut; brother of Pollux.
POLLUX - An Argonaut; brother of Castor.
MOPSUS - A male Argonaut.
LAERTES - A male Argonaut.
HIPPOLYTA - A female Argonaut; queen of the Amazons.
ATALANTA - A female Argonaut.
ANTIOPE - A female Argonaut.
NEPHELE - A female Argonaut.
HYLA - A female Argonaut; Hercules’ agent and personal trainer; short, bookish & non-athletic type.
FLEETFOOT - A winged harpy (female).
SWIFTWING - A winged harpy (female).
ÆETES - The elderly queen of Colchis; grandmother of Medea and Apsyrta.
APSYRTA - Medea’s younger sister.
TALOS - A bronze giant (male).
1ST CITIZEN - A Greek citizen (male or female).
2ND CITIZEN - A Greek citizen (male or female).
1ST GUARD - A Greek soldier; captain of the guards (male or female).
2ND GUARD - A fierce Greek soldier (male or female).
3RD GUARD - A rather accommodating Greek soldier (male or female).
HOSTESS - A gorgeous and glitzy TV emcee (female).
1ST JUDGE - A snooty contest judge (male or female).
2ND JUDGE - An attractive blonde judge with a German accent (female).
3RD JUDGE - A funkier, more laid-back judge (male or female).
CUPID - A god of love; boyish (non-speaking).
CUPID'S GIRLFRIEND - Cupid’s girlfriend (non-speaking).
POSEIDON - The god of the sea (non-speaking).
OLD RAM - Somebody in a ram costume (male or female).
SKELETON SOLDIERS - Characters dressed in skeleton masks and bodysuits; minimum four (male or female).
KUROGOS - Graceful stagehands dressed in all-black masks and bodysuits; for moving props onstage in the Japanese theatrical style; minimum two(male or female).
CITIZENS - Greek citizens who interact ad lib.; minimum four, though preferably far more (the equivalent of the chorus in a musical).
- Expandable casting
The first cast had 29 players –- 12 males and 17 females. A smaller cast can be created through the doubling and tripling of roles. In the original, the following were multiple roles: Chiron/Cupid, 2nd Citizen/Hyla/Cupid’s Girlfriend, Hercules/Talos, 1st Guard/3rd Judge, 1st Citizen/Kurogo, 2nd Guard/Poseidon, 3rd Guard/1st Judge, Antiope/Chiron’s rear end, 2nd Judge/Apsyrta, and of course the Skeleton Soldiers (6) and Kurogos (2) had other roles. Pelias, Phineas, Æetes, and even Medea could also take on other roles, and Alcestis and Asteropia could double as Fleetfoot and Swiftwing. A larger cast is possible, too, of course, with no doubling, and with more Citizens, Skeleton Soldiers, and Kurogos. Since casting directors often have more females than males to choose from, a number of roles from the traditional story have been feminized here. Half the crew of Argonauts, for example, are Amazons in this version. King Æetes is now a queen, Medea’s brother Apsyrtus is now a sister named Apsyrta, and Hylas, Hercules’ armor-bearer, appears as the female Hyla. Citizens, guard, kurogos, and Skeleton Soldiers can be either male or female.
Argonuts was first performed on November 2, 2006 by students of Argo Community High School in Summit, Illinois.