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MYTHOS: heroes Festival Theatre/Shaw Festival
By
Jul 11, 2018, 12:42
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Shaw Festival
Through July 15
MYTHOS A Trilogy: Gods, Heroes, Men Festival Theatre/Shaw Festival

Remember Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man?
That’s Stephen Fry context for his triple-header about classical Greece, “MYTHOS A Trilogy: Gods, Heroes, Men,” three ages of Greek cultural history.
This is the base of Western cultural history, of the gods on Mount Olympus, of the sons and the daughters of the gods and goddesses and their roles with heroes like Hercules and ultimately, the tales of the Trojan War and Odysseus’ decade-long trail home.
As Fry sits alone on stage for around 2 ½ hours telling each segment of “MYTHOS” with humor and self-deprecation, he shows not only an incredible depth of knowledge of the Greek world and its stories of itself, he also has an understanding of what’s going on in those Greek legends, what they tell us about the people who told these stories around the fire, drinking wine.
At the core of this “Heroes” segment is Fry telling the story of Hercules, Herakles to the Brit, and his adventures as he rampaged across the Greek world solving the problems he has agreed to resolve, with a king continually hoping one of these creatures out there will kill the hero and get him out of the way.
While these targets of the greatest Greek hero may seem a little silly, like killing the Minotaur or going down into Hell and kidnapping the Devil’s watchdog, Cerberus, they tell something of cultural context.
Each tells us a little about this Greek world of legend and myth and what concerned them about the uncontrollable, undefinable, unpredictable world around them.
They can’t know what will come out of the darkness, what day the blue skies and soft winds of the Aegean will suddenly turn to storm and the little ships of the day will turn into archeological mystery for today.
Fry is alone on stage, surrounded by computer screens which help tell the story as graphics, maps, words and images swirl around, not a college teacher in front of a class but a wandering minstrel, singing and reciting for a meal and a drink.
As with “Gods” and “Men,” “Heroes” is an amazing demonstration of memory and knowledge, combined with Nick Bottomley’s swirling computer graphics and a few gimmicks to give Fry a break.
Education has changed, with fewer and fewer students receiving the stories of the Greek cultural world and its effect on Rome, so this may be your only opportunity to learn something of the cultural base on which the Western world was built.
It’s also a chance to see an amazing demonstration of performance art and entertaining knowledge with Stephen Fry.
“MYTHOS: Heroes” is a must-see.

A.W.

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