Artbarn: Parables from the Parthenon

Sunday, March 18
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Artbarn’s Duck Soup Troupe takes on ancient Greece! A trip through the Museum of Fine Art provides the framework for a contemporary and irreverent retelling of three classic Greek myths. Travel back to the days of gods and men with Medusa, Perseus, King Midas, Theseus, the Minotaur and many, many more.


In this story, King Polydectes is in love with Danae. To get her to marry him, he hatches a plan to get her son, the hero Perseus, to fight the hideous monster, Medusa. Medusa has the ability to turn anyone she looks at into stone. Perseus gets some help from the Messenger God, Hermes, and the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena, to help defeat Medusa. He receives a mirrored shield from Athena and wings from Hermes. With the wings he finds Medusa’s sisters, the Graeae, three hideous witches who share a single eye. When Perseus steals their eye, they tell him where to find Medusa. He finally fights and defeats Medusa and uses Medusa’s head to turn Polydectes into stone and saves his mother, Danae.

This story shows that beauty isn’t everything and that no matter what happens, the courageous will always defeat the cowardly.


In this story the beloved King Midas judges a musical competition between his friend, Pan, and the Sun God, Apollo. In a rigged contest, he declares Pan the winner, infuriating the better musician who was clearly Apollo. Apollo gives Midas donkey ears to punish him for lying. At the same time, Midas’; daughter, Marigold, finds a half-goat, half-man Satyr in their garden. He is quite ill from a party he was at the previous night. He is the friend of the God of Wine, Dionysus. Midas takes care of the Satyr and Dionysus rewards him with one wish. Midas wishes that everything he touches will turn to gold. This idea is met with skepticism by Dionysus, but Midas still takes the gift. Midas loves his new ability at first, but eventually everything turns sour. He turns his own daughter into gold and is wracked with guilt. The gods tell him to go to a magical river to wash away his golden touch. He does this and his daughter is saved. They both live happily ever after from that day on.

The moral of this story is that money isn’t everything. Family and friends are much more valuable than gold. 


King Minos of Crete and King Ageus of Athens have their yearly meeting at the beginning of this myth. King Minos threatens to destroy Athens because he is “really bored” and has nothing better to do. To ward off war, King Ageus agrees to sacrifice some children to the Minotaur. \ The Minotaur is a half-man, half-bull creature who lives in a giant maze. Ageus’; son, Theseus, decides to go along with the plan and protect the sacrifices, even to slay the Minotaur. Theseus arrives in Crete with the sacrifices and, with some help from Minos’; daughter, Ariadne, is able to get a sword to defeat the Minotaur. When they are all locked in the giant maze, Theseus defeats the Minotaur and they all escape together!

The moral of this story is that bullying is never OK. King Minos is bullying Athens and all of it’s people just because he is bored and boredom can quickly lead to trouble.