By Michael Gioia
07 Aug 2012
American Thymele Theatre founder Stephen Diacrussi directs the performances, which are held Aug. 7-8 at the East River Park Amphitheatre, Aug. 9 at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park and Aug. 11 at Theatre 500 in the Times Square Arts Center.
The cast of 25 is headed by Michael Raimondi, Diana Swinburne, Tara Bancroft, Stephen Powell, Nicholas Sattinger, Paul Kirchmeyr and Ian Scott. The chorus is led by David Bushman.
Here's how the festival describes Children of Hercules: "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 the show's 2,440 year history, this production marks Children of Hercules' second professional staging in America and the first to use an ancient, traditional setting.
Founded in 1993, American Thymele Theatre was established to "promote Hellenic culture in NYC and beyond." The company produces Greek-themed plays and presents them free of charge to the public.
The East River Park Amphitheatre is located at the FDR Drive overpass (between Cherry and Jackson Streets); the Naumburg Bandshell is located at the Central Park Mall; and Theatre 500 is located at 300 W. 43rd Street. Reservations are not required. For more information, call (212) 868-4444 or email AmericanThymeleTheatre@gmail.com.