2B. The Play- "It's All Greek To Me"

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE GREEK CITY-STATE

It’s All Greek to Me

A Play by the Menzinator

STUDENTS FROM THE HISTORY CLASS

CHARACTERS FROM ANCIENT GREECE

JOHN

NIKE- Winged Victory

MARY

JACKOS- Ancient Greek citizen

JOE

HERMOS- A young Hoplite

ALI

MEKA-Servant Girl

NARRATOR

 

NARRATOR: John, Mary, Joe, and Ali have a group report to do on Ancient Greece. They reluctantly all meet at the local library. There, searching the stacks for information, they find they are lost.

 JOHN: I thought you said you knew your way around this place.

 MARY: I used to. But they changed everything again. The Greek section used to be here.

ALI: Mary, you’re always getting lost. You can’t find your way out of your walk-in closet.

 JOE: She’s better in the library. She helped me with my report last week….. (startled) say, did you see that?

 MARY: The people using this place just get weirder and weirder.

 JOHN: Hey, there it goes again.

 ALI: I think I better stop eating the school lunches. I’m starting to hallucinate.

 JOE: Did that thing look like it was flying to you?

 NIKE: Are you talking about me?

 ALL (jumping up-surprised): AHHHHH!!!

 NIKE: I’ sorry, I did not mean to frighten you. My name is Nike, and I have been sent to escort you to the land of Ancient Greece.

JOHN: Nike? Like the shoe company?

 NIKE: I hate that! You humans always do that. Borrow the name of the Greek immortals for everything. When a human says, my Nike’s this or my Nike’s that, I fly to see how I might be of service, and find out they are talking about a shoe. I am a god that is “Winged Victory”, because victory is often swiftly fleeting. Now we must be going. The wormhole will close soon from this side.

 MARY: Where are we going? Didn’t you say Ancient Greece? How will I ever explain this to my mom?

 NIKE: As I said, we are going to Ancient Greece. The mortals will never miss you, for I will stop earthly time.

 JOHN: WOW! That would be real research. But I don’t believe this is really happening.

 NIKE: There are many things in your celestial plane that you humans do not understand that have a perfectly logical explanation. But we will get to that later….

(LIGHTS GO OUT)

 ALI: Mary, where are you? Where are the lights?

 (LIGHTS GO UP AGAIN)

 MARY: Hey, where are we now?

 JOE: This is so cool. It looks like the cover of the Led Zeppelin CD I have—“Houses of the Holy”.

 NIKE: This way, this way. Now hurry. We have much to see and do and little time.

 JOHN: I’ve seen this place before in pictures. I think you call it the Acropolis…

 NIKE: You are absolutely right. I now leave you with a Greek citizen while you tour the polis of Athens. I will see you again when it is time to return to the library. (EXIT)

 JACKOS: May I introduce myself? My name is Jackos, and I will be your tour guide through this part of your journey. I heard one of you say that you recognized the Acropolis with all our temples to our gods and goddesses- this one the Parthenon, honors Athena for whom this city, Athens was named.

 ALI: What year is this?

 JACKOS: It is about 399 BC, in historical age. Our city of Athens is one of the great polis’ of all time.

 MARY: I think that means city-state.

 JACKOS: Correct. They are making you future world smart. The females of my time could not do that.

 JOE: Say man, what was life like for you dudes?

JACKOS (looking around): Are you talking to me?

 JOHN: Don’t mind Joe. That’s just the vernacular of the 1990’s.

 JACKOS: Oh, I see. I think you ask what life was like. I will take you to see. First be aware that you can see all that is going on around you, but these people cannot see you. You are, what your people of your time, would call a hologram.

 JOE: Cool! That’s like being a fly on the wall. You can see them, they can’t see you.

 JACKOS: Exactly. Now hurry. We are going to tour Athens. First, we must go to the Court of Justice. There is to be an execution today of a man said to be quite dangerous. His name is Socrates.

 ALI: I know who he is. He was a great philosopher who taught that you always have to question your world, how and why things work.

 JOHN: And he also questioned the government of Athens. People began to say that he was poisoning the mind of the young.

 MARY: So he was forced to drink a poison called hemlock.

 JACKOS: Since you are already familiar with this case, would you like to go to the Athenian version of the mall?

 JOE: Awesome, dude.

JACKOS: There is that awful sound again.  

ALI: What was the mall called?

JACKOS: There are two places where one could buy goods- at the Agora, a marketplace which was the heart of our economic and social life, and at the stoas where one could buy cooking pots to luxury goods.

 JOE: Hey man, that sounds just like our mall!

 JACKOS: Exactly. One might buy a new chiton or loose fitting tunic to wear because it was unusually hot and dry.

 ALI: Look over there, what are they eating?

 JACKOS: Let me reassure you, there were no McDonalds here.

 JOE: What do you eat? I can’t imagine a world without pizza or French fries.

 MARY: Jackos, I just read this for my report. May I try? Let me see. For breakfast I might eat wine-dipped bread, and figs. For lunch, bread with goat cheese or olives, and figs. And dinner was barley porridge or bread or fish, with some vegetables, such as carrots, peas, or cabbage. Snacks might include pomegranates, figs, grapes, apples, or pears. Often meals were eaten lying down on a couch. The only sweetener used was honey, and if you had more money, you got to eat more meat or fish.

 JACKOS: Very good, Mary. You have done your research well. Now, I must leave you. Here is Hermos, a young Hoplite, who shall answer your questions on government, and the role of the citizen.

 JOE: Hey man, what is a Hoplite? Sounds like a rap group to me.

 HERMOS: Jackos warned me about your vernacular. But to answer your question, it is every citizen’s duty to defend the state. And we heavily equipped solders were called Hoplites.

 JOHN: You thought up some awesome ways of fighting, didn’t you?

 HERMOS: Yes, first, we were well trained. From early on, we could attend a gymnasia where we could fine tune our bodies. Then, in service to the state, we marched in a rectangular formation where no man was expected to be a hero. This is where our political equality came from.

 ALI: You also had the phalanx- a military formation that moved like a solid wall.

 HERMOS: Jackos warned me that the females were smart, but I did not expect this smart.

 MARY: Didn’t your women go to school?

 HERMOS (laughing): Surely you jest. Females do not go to school.

 MARY: (angry) Maybe not in your time buster, but certainly in ours.

 HERMOS: All this funny language and customs puzzle and astound me.

 JOE: Hey dude, if women didn’t go to school, who did?

 HERMOS: First this one calls me “buster”, and now you call me “dude”. My name is HERMOS!

 JOHN: Hermos, let me help you out with these turkeys. This is the portion that I had to do my report on.  Only rich boys could attend school at age seven, where they would study reading, writing, arithmetic, music, and debating. They probably wrote with a stylus on a wax tablet. Pebbles or an abacus was used in math. They might play knucklebones (like jacks), or play a tune on their lyre. They might also participate in sport so they could become excellent soldiers.

 HERMOS: Now back to the soldier- my favorite subject. Did you know that one of your rituals, the Olympics, came from a practice that helped us to worship and honor our gods, and prepare for combat?

 JOE: Hey Dudes, this is where my report starts. This is so cool. Well you’ll see. The Olympics were held every four years (called an Olympiad) to honor Zeus during the years 776 BCE – 393 BCE. They were held in the nude, only for men, and had such events as long jump, chariot racing, the pentathlon, and pankration, which is a combination wrestling and boxing. Did you know that biting and eye gouging were even permitted? I told you this was cool.

 ALI: And Hermos?

 HERMOS: Yes?

 ALI: You forgot to tell us about the Battle of Marathon.

 HERMOS: I fear I cannot. My time of flight has come. I see Meka in the distance. She hall be your guide till you meet with Nike again.

 ALI: Meka, a girl, now that’s more like it.

 MEKA: I am but a humble servant girl who serves my master and mistress in many ways. While caring for my master’s sons, I listened to their lessons and learned what was necessary to be an Athenian.

 MARY: First things first, how did women dress?

 ALI: What rights did they have?

 MEKA: One question at a time please. First, the answer is that the amount of money your family has would determine what kind of tunic you would wear.

 MARY: Sounds just like now.

 MEKA: And if you were really rich, you might wear jewelry made of gold, silver, ivory and precious stones. Poorer people wear bronze, lead, iron, bone, or glass.

 MARY: Still sounds just like now.

 MEKA: As far as rights, the father was the absolute ruler of the family, and would determine at birth whether to accept or reject you, what clothes you would wear, and who you would marry.

 MARY: This definitely does not sounds just like now.

 MEKA: Only men were citizens and permitted to vote. They could vote a bad person out of power. Women could not vote, and there were no lawyers.

 JOE: Hey, this sounds like my time to live.

 MEKA: There were 200 men on each jury so that the jury could not be bribed.

 JOHN: Maybe they should do that for some of the celebrity trials of out time. They always get off.

 MEKA: What are you talking about?

 ALI: Let me help Meka. This is my part of the report. Let me see. First, there was Socrates. We have already talked about him. Then there was Plato, the student of Socrates who set down rules about the best way to govern a state. Then there was Aristotle, tutor of Alexander the Great, who thought up the scientific method, and classification of plants and animals. Then Zeno, who believed in a simple and logical way of life, Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, and Archimedes who worked with water, and discovered a law of physics in the process.

 MEKA: How I wish I had your opportunities for knowledge. OOOO, OOOOOO, OOOO…

 JOHN: Meka, what is it?

 MEKA:  Nike cometh. I must bid you farewell.

 NIKE: It is time to cross the portal, back through the wormhole… back to your time.

 JOHN: But Nike, there is so much to learn, the Greek Myths, the theatre, and literature…

 MARY: And how about the architecture, and mathematics?

(Lights go out)

 ALL: Oh no, not again.

(Lights go on, back at the library)

 NIKE: Now I must leave you.

 ALI: Please stay. There is so much more to learn.

 NIKE:  You can learn all you need to know from these books, or media specialist, or internet, or history teacher. Now the journey for knowledge is in your hands…

 JOE: And I have a feeling it will be an awesome journey.

>
Comments