Genre: Drama
written and directed by Ellen Stewart

ASCULAPIUS tells how the son of sun god Apollo and mortal maiden Coronis transcends to his rightful place in the heavens because of his great work in medicine. It is believed that Aesculapius' story has never before been told on stage.

In Ms. Stewart's adaptation of this classic Greek tale, Aesculapius is the son of the mortal Coronis, who was raped by the god Apollo. Angered by Coronis' agreement to raise the child with her true love, mortal Ischys, Apollo's twin sister, Artemis, kills Coronis. Although Apollo tries to stop his sister he, can not save Coronis. Apollo puts Coronis on a funeral pyre and, as she is burning, he reaches into the flames and takes the baby from Coronis' womb. Aesculapius is sent to be raised in nature by the centaur Chiron, who teaches the boy about herbal medicines and the lore of the woods. The adult Aesculapius uses herbs given to him by snakes to bring a king's son back from the dead, angering his brother, the god of the underworld Hades, who is jealous of Aesculapius' ability to use medicine to ward off death, and thus orders Aesculapius' death. In fact, this rarely told story of the father of medicine is rife with incest, murder, betrayal, passion and unrequited love.

Aesculapius' story inspired the familiar serpent-entwined-staff insignia used today by hospitals and doctors worldwide as a symbol of excellence in medicine.

AESCULAPIUS features music composed by Ellen Stewart, with additional music by Michael Sirotta, Yukio Tsuji, and Heather Paauwe; and Greek music written by Elizabeth Swados, performed by live musicians.
The production features choreography by Federico Restrepo, puppets by Theodora Skipitares, light design by Federico Restrepo, scenic consultants Mark Tambella and Jun Maeda, and sound design by Tim Schellenbaum.

This presentation of AESCULAPIUS represents a continuation of La MaMa E.T.C. and The Great Jones Company's tradition of contemporary interpretations and adaptations of the classics. The production will retain the inimitable international flavor that is a trademark of Ellen Stewart's body of work at La MaMa, with a multi-ethnic cast consisting of over a dozen artists from Colombia, Italy, Japan, Germany, China, Korea, Kosovo, Puerto Rico, Republic of Congo, Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States.

The cast includes George Drance, Cary Gant, Denise Greber, Allison Hiroto, Onni Johnson, Michael Lynch, Benjamin Marcantoni, Matt Nasser, Prisca Ouya, Eugene the Poogene, Frederico Restrepo, Valois, Meredith Wright, Perry Yung, and Kat Yew.

Open:   05/28/09
Close:   06/14/09

Thursdays through Sundays at 7:30pm
Theater:   La Mama (annex)
Address:   74A E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
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6 to Bleecker, walk east to Bowery, north to East 4th, east to theater

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