Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hercules, Act One

So we just finished up the musical Hercules! This was not the Disney version; it was written and developed by our own Spotlight Youth Theater, and the script is available to other theater groups. It ended up being one of our families' favorite shows that we've done. It was so good!, and we had such a good time doing it. Being on the directing team was a special joy for me, and I thought this was a special script because it had so many very different characters, many of them humorous. The audiences really loved it, and--bonus!--we sold out every school day show because so many classes were doing units on Greek mythology!

(All photos were taken at a dress rehearsal by my fabulous husband.)

So B14 played Philoctetes, or Phil. In the Disney script, he coaches Hercules, but in our version, he starts out on Mt. Olympus as old friend of Zeus...

...who appears onstage when summoned by Zeus with a thunderclap and a brief blackout. (Really he was positioned behind Zeus' throne during the whole opening number, getting very hot in his heavy costume.) Disoriented and short-sighted, he runs across stage to attack Zeus and Poseidon, bouncing off Zeus' massive breastplate and falling to the ground. (The schoolkids loved that gag!)

"Another one?" he asks plaintively when Zeus explains that he has an assignment for Phil. "But I'm so tired." Zeus promises he will get to sleep like a baby...and with another thunderclap and blackout, old Phil vanishes and Baby Phil--a doll--is pushed onstage in a basket.

Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Hades plots to take over Olympus as his Minions listen in...

...and sing back-up during his bluesy number, "If I Were King."

Hercules and Phil, who both started out as baby dolls, end up as teenage boys in school together.

Here the nerdy Phil was just caught talking in class about how much he admires the king of the gods, Zeus. "Would you like to teach the class, Phil?" "No, ma'am, you're doing just fine...." But next thing you know, he's breaking out into song, teaching the class about the Greek gods.

"For every situation, a god provides an explanation...."

Oh yes, that's how we roll...those desks. While singing, rearranging them and climbing on and off them, and dancing the whole time. (Miraculously, no teenagers were harmed in the production of this musical.)

Phil gets a little nervous after the god of marriage is mentioned, and the spotlight is on him as Kora takes his arm and we hear a few bars of "Here Comes the Bride"!

He really is in love with Kora but he's afraid to talk to her. Hercules tries to get his attention as he moons over her...

...and imagines a "Chariots of Fire" moment with her.

He ends up dancing with her at the school dance in the next scene (in which Hercules also meets his love interest, Deianeira).
(During performances, B14 added the perfect wide-eyed goofy "somebody pinch me" smile during this dance! Oh, and imagine a mirror ball too.)

Hercules gets captured and put in prison in the Underworld, where he meets his half-sister Persephone--a hilarious schizophrenic--

...who tells him he's really the son of Zeus and his destiny is to save Olympus.

 Poor Phil has to confess to Zeus that Hercules has been captured and he has failed in his assignment to protect him.

Hades shows up, threatening to harm Hercules and his mother, Alcmena, if Zeus doesn't give up the throne.

Chicklet11 helps hold the prisoner, Hercules...

 ...subdues one of the gods...

...and takes his place on the stairs as the curtain closes on Act One, with Hades now in power!

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