Join the Valley Players for Theater in Your Home, a series of theatrical presentations that you can enjoy from the safety and comfort of your laptop! Each month through the winter & spring seasons, watch live staged readings of classic plays, storytelling, and variety shows performed LIVE over the meeting platform Zoom. Shows are free to watch, although donations are gratefully accepted. Our average ticket price for a live performance is $12.
Theater in Your Home
Join us for an informal reading of a piece of classic Greek theater:
(The Children of Hercules)
Thursday April 22 at 7 pm on Zoom
Click HERE to join the Webinar and listen to the reading live!
Iolaus, Heracles’ companion during his Twelve Labors but now an old man, is in hiding with Heracles‘ fatherless children at the altar of the temple of Zeus at Marathon, near Athens. They have been moving from city to city, as Iolaus tries to protect them from the vengeful King Eurystheus of Argos, who has vowed to kill them. A herald from Eurystheus appears calling on them once more to return to Argos to face the consequences, and Iolaus begs the Chorus of aged Athenians to take pity and help them.
Demophon, son of Theseus and king of Athens, arrives to hear the story, calling on the herald to justify Eurystheus’ demands. Iolaus gives his own reasons why Demophon should come to their aid (including Heracles‘ kinship and past aid to his father), and his arguments are sufficient to sway Demophon, who dismisses the herald, effectively putting Athens at war with Eurystheus and Argos. The Chorus warn that this is not a step to be taken lightly, but Demophon insists that Athens has always been a friend to the friendless, and is confident that the Heracleidae will always be grateful.
Eurystheus and the Argive army arrive and begin to press the Athenian defence. An oracle has foretold that Athens will succeed only a maid of noble blood is sacrificed, and Demophon is unwilling to call on his own people to provide such a sacrifice. However, Macaria, the eldest daughter of Heracles, overhears the conversation and willingly offers herself as the sacrifice. She takes a fond farewell of her siblings and the Chorus praise her noble death.
Heracles‘ son, Hyllus, arrives back from his mission in search of aid for their cause, bringing news that he has been able to obtain reinforcements to support Demophon in the struggle against Eurystheus. The old and feeble Iolaus insists of joining the fray, and soon a messenger bring news that the combined forces have been victorious, and that Iolaus in particular has distinguished himself in the battle, miraculously appearing to grow young in the process.
Eurystheus, having declined the challenge to meet Hyllus in single combat, had been captured by Iolaus during the battle, and he is now brought in to face the wrath of Heracles‘ mother, Alcmene. In his defence, Eurystheus claims that he did not seek the persecution of Heracles and his family for his own gratification, but was held to it by the goddess Hera. Alcmene insists on taking her revenge on Eurystheus by taking his life, even if that is against the Athenian laws. Eurystheus then tells of a prophecy that his spirit will protect the city from the descendants of the Heracleidae if they slay and bury him, and the Athenians bow to this higher law and Eurystheus is put to death.