American Thymele Theatre's NYC Euripides Summer Festival Series presents Euripides' rarely staged and timely play CHILDREN OF HERCULES from August 7th thru 11th with outdoor performances at the East River Park Amphitheatre (8/7 and 8/8), the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park (8/9) and at Theatre 500 in the Times Square Arts Center (8/11). Stephen Diacrussi directs a cast of 25 headed by Michael Raimondi, Diana Swinburne, Tara Bancroft, Stephen Powell, Nicholas Sattinger, Paul Kirchmeyr and Ian Scott. The chorus is led by David Bushman.
Because Hercules survived death after performing his famous "twelve labors", Eurystheus wants to kill Hercules' children believing they pose a threat to his throne. They are political refugees in Athens, along with their mother Alcmena and Iolaus, a relative and friend of Hercules. After the pronouncement of an oracle, it is learned that Athens will only be safe in giving refuge if a maiden of noble birth is sacrificed. Hercules' daughter Malcaria offers herself so that her family can remain free in Athens. Although he is old, Iolaus insists on going to battle against Eurystheus and succeeds in capturing him. Now a prisoner of war, Eurystheus cannot be put to death under Athenian law, but he is determined to be remembered as a protector of Athens. He reveals an old prophecy: that his spirit will protect Athens and Hercules' descendants forever, emphasizing Athens' democratic and just treatment of foreign nationals.
In its 2,440 year history, this will be the second professional staging of CHILDREN OF HERCULES in America and the first ever to use an ancient, traditional setting. The shortest of all surviving dramas by Euripides, it is a political play in praise of the city of Athens. The play remains timely in today's world when Athens serves as home to refugees from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and other Balkan countries, despite the difficulties that the native Greek population is challenged by in terms of the harsh austerity measures imposed on them by the European Union and the survival of their cultural identity.
Founded in 1993 by producer, director and distinguished character actor Stephen Diacrussi, American Thymele Theatre was established to promote Hellenic culture in NYC and beyond. The company realizes its mission by producing Greek themed plays and presenting them free of charge to the public. Since 2009 the company has become known for its annual NYC Euripides Free Summer Festival, with previous acclaimed productions of Rhesus, Alcestis and Medea. These plays are all fully staged using ancient costumes, scenery, music, etc. The festival revived the idea of producing classics at the East River Park Amphitheatre originally used for Shakespeare In The Park in the 1950s. ATT also presents its plays at Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell and in select off-Broadway theatres.
CHILDREN OF HERCULES will be staged at the East River Park Amphitheatre on Tues. Aug. 7 and Wed. Aug. 8 at 6:30PM (FDR Drive overpass – Grand St. exit – betw. Cherry St. and Jackson St.), at the Naumburg Bandshell on Thurs. Aug. 9 at 6:30PM (Central Park Mall - enter at 67th St. or 72nd St./C.P.W. or 72nd St. & 5th Ave.) and at Theatre 500 on Sat. Aug. 11 at 5PM (300 W. 43rd Street, 5th floor, in the Times Square Arts Center Bldg., SW corn. of 43rd Street & 8th Ave). All performances are free to the public, no reservations required. For the Theatre 500 performance: www.smartTix.com or by calling 212-868-4444. For further information: AmericanThymeleTheatre@gmail.com.