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Polytheism Creates Drama 

Wednesday, Jul 28 2010
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Anyone near children should get a copy of D’Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. Its weird artwork and simple, but not stupid, tellings of the old stories will engross nerdy youngsters, and cause them to do way better on their SATs. It may also cause them to be obsessed with the ancient Greek gods for the rest of their lives. We’re not sure if this is exactly what happened to the organizers of the San Francisco Olympians Festival, the No Nude Men Productions theater company, but the obsession is definitely there. The festival features 12 plays, one for each of the severe egotists who occupy Mount Olympus, each written by a local playwright, and given a rehearsed staged reading by local actors. The fun thing to do with Greek myths is to monkey around, stretching them as far out of shape as you can without distorting their meaning. Tonight, the most maligned of the gods, Hera, takes her turn. Everyone, even the D’Aulaires', makes her out to be a giant bitch, just because she gets mad when her husband cheats on her. Veteran writer for the stage Stuart Bousel shows her as a domestic goddess, like a Real Housewife of Victorian England (see, stretching). Tomorrow, Evelyn Jean Pine gives us the mighty blacksmith, Hephaestus, onstage with his two golden robots, who as far as we know are the first mention of artificial intelligence ever. No way that could go wrong! Other mythologically themed goodies are also on hand: original visual art, chances to win stuff, and more. Afterward, you’ll do better on your SATs.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through July 31, 2010

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Hiya Swanhuyser

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