Jason and the Golden Fleece
John Olive’s version of the ancient Greek myth, Jason and the Argonauts, keeps the hallmarks of the original tale—betrayal, struggle, vengeance and Jason’s dangerous journey seeking the famed Golden Fleece to prove his right to be King of Thessaly. With help from an inexperienced but enthusiastic crew—the untried Hercules and budding poet Orpheus—Jason passes through a series of tests, failures and successes to find out that his strength lies within.
“Greek myths help spark a love of stories and storytelling that has lasted for centuries,” said SCT Artistic Director Linda Hartzell. “These tales remind us of rites of passage that give us strength and courage to endure life’s trials. This adaptation of the enduring myth brings all of the excitement, drama, and sophistication inherent in the tale right to our modern sensibilities.”
Jason and the Golden Fleece is the fifth of playwright John Olive’s plays to be performed at SCT; other SCT productions include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and his adaptation of Our Only May Amelia, among others. Also in the Seattle area: A Summer Moon won a 1997 Kennedy Center Award for Drama then received its premiere at ACT. His The Voice of the Prairie played at ACT and also at TAG. Careless Love played at Empty Space and Standing on my Knees at TAG. John has also written screenplays and television material. He has published fiction and teaches at the Loft in Minneapolis, where he lives with his wife Mary and their son Michael.
Kathleen Collins (Director) was a resident director in the early years of SCT at Poncho Theatre, directing Linda Hartzell in many productions, including Step on a Crack. She did her graduate work at UW and served as Artistic Director of Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Actors Company of Pennsylvania. Recent work at SCT includes Our Only May Amelia and The Gingerbread Man. Kathleen is on the theatre faculty of Cornish College of the Arts.
Adventure and discovery —these are the hallmarks of Jason’s tale. When he was but a baby, his own uncle murdered his parents. Jason returns to Thessaly to avenge their deaths and reclaim the throne. Despite his youth and inexperience, Jason makes a bargain with his uncle—he will sail in search of the famed Golden Fleece in return for the crown. With his young crew, the untried Hercules and budding poet Orpheus, as ready as they will ever be, the sailors begin their voyage.
This is the chance to become the heroes of legend, if only they knew what that meant or how to go about it. Their quest takes the three naïve warriors to lands cursed and deceptively sweet, where they must fight ferocious supernatural creatures. But when they finally make their destination, the land of the Golden Fleece, Jason finds his strength and captures his treasure.
Once back home, Jason honors his bargain and hands over the prize. His uncle tries to betray him again, so Jason has no choice but to enter into a pitched battle of clashing swords. Realizing that he has become a hero after all, Jason vanquishes his uncle and is crowned king. In a noble gesture, Jason has the Golden Fleece destroyed, determined to rule his people by his own even hand.
The cast for Jason and the Golden Fleece includes Peter Crook as Pelias/Argos/Phineus/Aetes/Inos, Renata Friedman as Orpheus/Atalanta, Alexandra Tavares as Media/Arachne/Hipsypyle/Harpy, Shawn Telford as Hercules/Soldier, and Lathrop Walker as Jason. Andrew McMasters and Betsy Schwartz are the understudies.
The production features directing by Rita Giomi, fight choreography by Geoffrey Alm, set design by Matthew Smucker, costume design by Deborah Trout, lighting design by Michael Wellborn, sound design and original composition by Chris R. Walker and puppet design by Tristan M.T. Dalley.