-Themes-


Educational Themes


Note: Designed as an educational production – THESEUS dramatizes very basic concepts traceable to ancient times and in many cases, extremely relevant today.

This production depicts young people in one of the first democratic movements of the Ancient World and features a range of historical themes which align with Social Studies Content Standards of the CT Common Core of Learning. Content Standards Addressed: Historical Thinking, Historical Themes, Applying History, Political Systems


MAJOR THEMES

Populist Social Order-Athenian viewpoint -- An interpretation of Indo-European philosophy regarding the ideal social order -- later expanded in Plato's Ideal Society -- whereby every individual is allowed to reach their highest value, with classes that differ in function or type of work -- but all equally important to the whole of society.

Said to be originated by the gods in a distant creation or paradise time; which is often referred to in other religions as well.
Best articulated by Theseus: Scene 1 , Scene 10.


Theseus


Authoritarianism -- Knossos viewpoint -- (Fascism, Totalitarianism, Oligarchy, Imperialism)

Rhadamanthos

The idea that societies will always be arranged in layers of status with power and wealth concentrated at the top -- both within nations, and between nations. That those who cannot dominate militarily or economically -- will always run the risk of being subjugated or deprived by someone else.

Attainment of power often involves the use of fear or distrust of particular groups within a society -- or of other nations.
Represented by Rhadamanthos and the Expansionist Party: Scene 4 , Scene 10



The Social Contract -- An ongoing concept with roots as early as Hammurabi of Babylon. The idea that society has an implied relationship with every individual; wherein accomplishment or contribution must be rewarded -- and negative or criminal behavior must be punished -- in order to maintain long-term faith and allegiance to the society.

Theoretically, if particular laws or treatment of groups or individuals mitigate against this principle -- then public confidence may decrease in the long term -- and vice versa.
Best expressed by Theseus: Scene 1 , Scene 10


Individual Equity (Fairness, Honour) -- One of the cornerstone concepts of the production -- dealing with fairness to individuals, but especially with fairness from individuals.

An idea traceable to ancient village cultures relating to personal esteem, or regard in the community. A person with equity, or "honour", is someone perceived to be fair -- who does not take more than they give -to the village- and therefore carries social trust.


Maice and Sinjah


A
lso referred to in later cultures or religions in different forms; from Zoroaster, to Islam, to the Golden Rule of Christianity. But especially in the 'reasonable-person legal test' applied all the way back from ancient court systems -- to the present day. [ref: see legal glossary definition: equity]

Very important to the story of 'Sinjah' -- an outcast who has broken almost every precept of the Omazon tribal code -- deprived of self-esteem -- yet has always been a fair and, in fact, generous person -- as pointed out by her friend and mentor, Maicedonia [Maice]. His message is that anyone has a right to self-esteem -- if they are basically fair in their dealings with others. After this, everything is a matter of choice, according to value perceived.
Best dramatized in Scene 8


Social Commitment/Involvement -- The idea that societies will always be in a state of decay from a condition of general fairness and opportunity -- to a "natural order" of imbalance and domination by stronger groups over weaker groups. [ref: "unsupervised playground" concept, Jung] Therefore each and every generation is required to, in effect 'make', or reaffirm the world they live in, on some level.
[ref: Activism: Artistotle, Pericles, Roman Republc, Plebieans]
Best embodied by Theseus and The Athenians: Scene 7a




the "Free-Thinkers"
Non-Commitment (Apathy) -- Not a formal concept-but general phenomenon of a gap or disconnect between society and groups within it; whenever the goals of the existing power structure is perceived to be non-beneficial to smaller, specific groups contained. Sometimes leading to "sub-culture" formation, or increased ethnic or gang affiliation.

Best exemplified by Maice and the Free-Thinkers with their view of the mainland ruling class -- and of organized society in general.
Scene 2 , Scene 7a , Scene 12


Base Economic Model -- The basic intent of a free market economy -- the overall concept that societies move forward according to a particular formula: specialization, trade, progress -- driven by opportunity.

If individuals are allowed to become highly efficient in particular tasks or industries, and then trade this "productivity" with others operating at high efficiency -- then everybody wins -- society becomes richer.

This is the pattern in the transition from 'hunter-gatherer' to the 'village lifestyle' -- and then beyond. Yet obviously the process is often interrupted by racial and regional conflict -- even World War.
Best described in Scene 1 , Scene 10 , Scene 9

 


Military/Civil Trust
-- A general pattern observable at numerous points in history when armed conflict occurs -- going back even to the first ancient cities of Sumer, Akkad and Ur -- regarding the level of trust or agreement -- between citizens and government -- on the stated need for military action.

Clearly, the lower the level of trust or agreement there is -- then the greater the chance for internal tension and civil unrest -- and vice versa. Sometimes affecting long-term stability.
Best dramatized in the relationship between Theseus and Maice (Scene 15) -- and between the "free-thinkers" and Mainland Society (Scene 2).


MINOR THEMES

Memory - Historical Phenomenon -- Not a formal concept, but an observable pattern within the whole of Greek history-- recurring in literature, poetry and song.

The idea of charting the future using some point of balance, or relative happiness in the past. Logical to the Greek national experience over two millennia featuring brief periods of national unity and purpose -- but long periods of regional conflict and turmoil in between. [ref: Prof. Jeremy McInerney, U.of Penn.]

A similar pattern of nostalgia can be said to occur in 20th Century America, especially regarding the late 50's, early 60's Eisenhower-JFK era -- "the age of innocence."
Best represented by Theseus in the song,
Memory -- referring to the "world of balance" from the creationist myth of the Lost Days.


Balance - The Ancient Door -- Concept described by Minos in his only scene with Theseus near the end of the show. The idea that the world will always be torn between two opposing forces within human nature--compassionate vs. survivalist, nurturing vs. aggressive, or simply what he calls the forces of "give and take."

Similar to the Yin and Yang from the Chinese, or Eros and Logos from the later Classical Greeks. That peaceful order occurs only in the fleeting balance point between these forces -- the Ancient Door -- which cannot be defined, or held for long, and usually recognized only in hindsight......"only in a memory......only in those points on the pendulum where give and take equal happiness...only there..."


Emperor Minos
But, according to Minos -- "the key to the Ancient Door.....does not lie in this world." Scene 14

Tolerance (Intolerance) -- Common social tendency for majority groups to isolate, or vilify smaller groups that appear to be different -- either by race, dress, custom or religion -- while ignoring the individual personality from that group.

Best dramatized in the story of Sinjah -- clearly marked and isolated as a member of the mysterious and threatening religious cult of the Omazons. Only the Athenians and Maice will see her as a person at first -- while the others, of course, will take much longer. Scene 7b



Theseus and Ariadne

Faith and the Earth Goddess -- Considered to be a major factor in the development of early civilization -- the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural lifestyles. Further extended to the personal level: if Man would accept his frailty and weakness against the forces of nature -- then he could find his true strength -- in civilization.

A similar pattern is found in other religions -- that people are born with a higher and lower nature: if one asks for acceptance or forgiveness of the fearful, insecure child within -- the sinner -- then the deity will show the way to the higher, rational self. Represented in the story between Theseus and Ariadne.
Best dramatized in Scene 6


Romantic Extension -- One of a group of theories in psychology asserting that romantic pairings occur from the need to extend the parent-child relationship, to the adult experience. That the male and female partners each have parental, or guardian tendencies that react with the childlike or innocent qualities of the other. [ref: "transactional analysis"]

The child aspect of the woman seeks out the father-protective nature of the male, and the female-maternal nature reacts with the child-boy within the male. According to the theory -- the stronger these connections, then the stronger the "chemistry", or bonds between the romantic partners.
Best exemplified in the relationships between Maice & Sinjah: Scene 8
and Theseus & Ariadne: Scene 6

Conformity (Peer Pressure) -- Relating to the considerable force exerted by groups over individuals -- affecting self-esteem, and in fact, self-acceptance -- driven by the basic need to belong.
Best represented in the story of Sinjah as an outcast member of the religious cult of the Omazons: Scene 8

But also represented by Maice and the Free-Thinkers: Scene 2 -- having rejected the organized societies of their homelands -- but who are left with no greater purpose than themselves.

The Team Dynamic (Synergy) -- Ageless idea often considered to be the most valuable lesson in sports -- whereby individual members must become aware of the talents and importance of every other member in blending together to achieve a common goal -- which cannot be done alone.

Where the individual becomes more than just the individual....."the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts." Best represented by the Athenians in the team method of The Bullance -- a sport where the girls are every bit as important as the boys.
Best dramatized in Scene 5

Village Children -- Somewhat elusive but identifable concept relating to the sense of community and belonging, in the "village" cultures of ancient Europe. A richness of tradition and ritual regarding life-cycle events like planting and harvest -- but also courtship, betrothal, child-bearing, and rites of passage -- often celebrated by seasonal festivals related to sun signs throughout the year, still somewhat visible in Western culture via holidays such as Halloween (Samhin/All Spirits), Christmas (Winter Solstice), and Easter (planting, renewal).

Best exemplified by the displaced "village children" of the Greek Mainland -- "the Bulldancers" -- and especially by Reeba, Boca, and Slade in Scene 11

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