The Glory Of Athens
Copyright � James Taris


Demosthenes: Brothers and sisters! I have seen the light. I have seen the bright light
from the heavens above and I can sure tell you they�re burning a lot of electricity up there.
So gather round me today and help me send a message to the Greek Gods of Olympus.
And together we will say, �Will somebody please turn off the goddamn lights, because
we�re trying to get some sleep down here!�

Hi James, As promised I'm getting back to you with a more detailed response to your performance of "The Glory of Athens" at école secondaire Confédération on January 9, 2004 ...

I must confess that I was a little hesitant to have you perform the play at first. I wasn't concerned about the script. I liked the text, having read it online. I thought it had lots of humour and the message at the end of the play is truly inspirational, challenging viewers to believe in themselves without reservation. What made me nervous was my knowledge of what a difficult audience high school students can be, especially when a single person tries to hold their attention for 90 minutes. We teachers find it a challenge to hold their attention for far shorter periods.

When you began your performance, however, my fears were quickly laid to rest. You captured our students' attention with the first line and never lost it. They laughed at the funny parts and listened attentively to the serious parts, and I could tell that the applause at the end was heartfelt. What impressed me most, however, was the way the students interacted with you in the question period after the performance. The quality of their questions showed how thoroughly engaged they were by your play.

The audience included about 40 grade 12 students ranging in age from 16 to 18, most of them being 17 years old. To tell the truth, if I had known how good your performance was going to be, I probably would have tried to include our grade 11 students as well. Although there is some sexual humour in the play, I don't think any of it would be shocking to teenagers who watch prime time television in North America. For that matter, that type of humour is not unfamiliar to anyone who has studied Shakespeare.

I should mention that I gave a brief history lesson to our grade 12 students the day before the play to furnish them with some background knowledge about the historical and mythological characters in your play. I also showed them a poster of the Parthenon so they would have that image in mind when it was mentioned in the play. Though the students probably would have understood your play without that lesson, I think the preparation probably heightened their comprehension. For example, because I explained the technique of Socratic dialectic to them, they were really able to appreciate the humour of your parody of Socrates' argumentative tactics.

Once again, thank you very much, James, for performing your play for our students. May all of your performances of "The Glory of Athens" be as successful as the one at École secondaire Confédération. Sincerely, Doug Janack (English Teacher, Confederation High School, Canada)

Just a quick note to say that our students' enthusiasm was confirmed during further discussion on Monday. Donna and I have asked students to send emails to you. Doug Janack (English Teacher, Confederation High School, Canada)

My name is Samantha, and I am a student at Confederation High School. I was in the groupe of grade twelves to whom you presented your play "The Glory of Athens" on Friday, January 9, 2004, and I really enjoyed it, so I felt I should let you know. I just wanted to send out a quick note to say that I was really blown away by your presentation: the acting, the humour, the play as a whole. It was really a wonderful story, a beaufitul message, and a fantastic laugh. It's just what we all needed on a Friday afternoon. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was very impressed by the play. It was a great story line, and very well portrayed. We all had a lot of fun, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for having come. Best wishes in wherever and whatever life brings you! Cheers! Sam! (CHS)

Dear James, Thanks for your performance of The Glory of Athens at our Cegep de Granby (a French community college in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.). My students really enjoyed it and I've asked them to send you directly their testimonials. They were amazed that someone would actually do something fun for them and for free. It boggled their minds. Oh, what a cynics we are even young. The reaction was great, and even most of them are native French speaking albeit advanced students, they still caught most of the jokes. Thanks again, Jennifer Hanna, Professor of English, Cegep de Granby Haut-Yamaska.

You are a very good actor and I liked your play ..maybe if we can we will see if we can put it on for a bigger audience when you return on the 26th.. A job well done. Betty-ann Power (Chairperson, LETS Niagara, Canada)

James, I read your play and was very impressed with it. Tell me is there a little autobiographical slant in there? Fern

Honestly, I haven't read all of the ACTS ... But the first three are but hilarious ... I finally finished reading all of the acts. ... But it was rude and funny. ... Sort of Greek, sort of an American ... I must admit though that it was beautifully written and no doubt it was beautifully performed....... Congratulations. ... I like them all. However, the top three characters for me were (not necessarily in order): Pericles( I've always enjoyed this character), Odysseus and Socrates. But I also liked Demi's 'plea' to God. Dorie

You are a genius! Its quite humorous! ... - DAMN GOOD! (stupendous even!) by the way, you have an incredible spirit dancing with you! Sandra

James gave his first perfomance of his play in Bressuire last year [2003] to a French audience. The audience, composed of both students and adults, enjoyed his sincere depiction of Greek Philosophy in contemporary life situations. We recommend his play especially for students in the humanities. Roger Desbois (secretary), Jean Kelly (president), SEL de Bocage - Bressuire

Hi James, I wanted to send you a copy of the article I wrote for our local newsletter after seeing your play. I was so impressed with your portrayal that I was really glad to have the opportunity to see it more than once. The first time, at the Kitchener Public Library was amazing! I loved the plot development, especially since each of the monologues could probably stand on their own, but are knit together so skillfully that the entire play has to be seen to be fully appreciated. All of the performances, from the library to the business office to the church were exactly as you'd billed them. When we received the poster and had a look at your web-site, we had an idea of what was in store, but once we'd had an opportunity to see the play, we were thrilled that we'd decided to support your presentation of it. The tone of the play is inspirational and humourous, with enough "meat" to keep the audience captivated, and we are so pleased that we were able to witness it! Thank you so much for sharing your "story" with us. You are a skilled story-teller and your enthusiasm for each character in the play is obvious. Bravo! Kit Anderson

REVIEW: From the opening line of the play, James catches your attention and doesn�t let go until the final, inspirational words of this 80-minute one-man show.

Traditionally, the words �comedic� and �inspirational� are not grouped together, but in this context, it works wonderfully well. The play is upbeat and moves quickly, as you see through the characters� eyes from the initial dilemma to the inspirational conclusion.

Each character, from a modern-day accountant, to 6 of Greek history�s most famous geniuses, comes alive in James� portrayal of them. Observe the transformation of the protagonist, Demi, from hopeless and desperate to confident and inspired, as he is given the opportunity to see history unfold in a series of flashbacks around the building of the Parthenon in ancient Greece.

I have seen the play on three separate occasions and in three different venues and each time, I have been witness to the power of positive thinking.

The first time was at a local public library, where one member of the audience was so inspired, he requested that James perform the play for his sales team, as he understood the value of being able to present the message of believing in oneself.

The second time I saw the play was at this same gentleman�s offices, where James presented the play to a sales and marketing audience. After the performance, many of the attendees commented on how much impact the play had on them. One man mentioned that he could see how the play would be beneficial to anyone who was stuck �thinking inside the box�. The protagonist�s initial belief that he�s incapable of solving his company�s problem is replaced by a confidence that �everything is possible, if you truly believe�.

The third time I saw the production was in a church sanctuary in Welland, Ontario, to a mixed audience of young and old parishioners. The over-riding consensus was that the play imparted a sense of hope and strength in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances.

I would recommend this play to anyone and everyone who wants to have their spirits lifted. Although loosely based on historical facts, the play�s genuine philosophy is to inspire through overcoming adversity, a message we all need to hear more often.

- Kit Anderson is a Stephen Minister with Bethany Evangelical Missionary Church, Kitchener, ON and Owner of Kit & Kaboodle Consulting, Kitchener, ON. She is also a Member of the Board of Directors, Kitchener-Waterloo Barterworks. A frequent contributor to our newsletter, Kit writes reviews and commentaries on arts and drama events in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area.

It was our pleasure to host JamesTaris during November, 2003, for 5 days. In that short but event packed period we came to realise that James is very dedicated to his mission of promoting Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) primarily because it was through helping LETS to flourish in Melbourne that his own life was radically transformed. As a result, he is consumed with a passion for showing people how, by assuming active roles in life and learning and applying skills in innovative ways, they also can achieve whatever they dream they could achieve.

This too is, I believe, the message which shines through the play he has written and performed to our local LETS members and in many other venues. The theme of self- empowerment, tempered by some very funny episodes, was very well received here and captured our attention from start to finish.

The irony is, of course, that James, pursuing his adventurous world travels, is a living example of the hero, Odysseus, in his positive, thought provoking play.

Michael Loxton, Kingsbridge LETS, Kingsbridge, Devon, England

I would be pleased to endorse your play and any needs to promote you and this amusing drama. I and many of my friends have enjoyed your play, meeting and spending time with you. It certainly has been an adventure I and my family will remember. You know the girl, the 'I am a genius' one. Chonie (3) is still doing her 'genius dance' for others. God go with you on your path ... Wishing you all the best in your endeavours. Yours in freindship and LETS, Mary Beth Anger Sheffield. Community Legal Worker and Community Developer.

This EXCELLENT play is well-written with ingenious theatrical techniques and provides a powerful
spiritual message.

When James TARIS visited LETS Niagara, we intended to use his motivational skills mainly to promote the concept of Local Economic/Employment/Energy Trading Systems among existing and prospective members.

However, we were also able to help him by arranging 3 public performances of The Glory Of Athens,
in a local High School, Church and, for members and friends of LETS Niagara, in a private home.

We are honoured to have played a small part in promoting this play - he was definitely Called to write
and act it and it deserves to be performed widely.

The play's history is similar to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, written as a Winnipeg comedienne's stand-up comedy show. In the same way, I predict that we will one day see The Glory Of Athens on the silver screen - it's that good.

The play's message, for me, was that in times of trouble, prayer works.

A major side benefit to The Glory Of Athens, is that it's style and technique help to explain ancient Greek history as something worth studying, in fact, as interesting as modern soap operas. The more we study history, the less we will be doomed to repeat its lessons (and the ancient Greeks sure learned a lot of them!).

Ten Star Life Broker; Rotary Club of Fort Erie (Secretary 2002-, President 2001-02, 1996-97);
LETS Niagara (Secretary-Treasurer 1997-); Scouts Canada leader 1986-2002
905/ 835-5506 BusFaxRes


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