THE AMAZONOMACHY-Play Reading
a new classical play by Danielle LaRose
Image Design by Lola Sanchez
“Finally there’s a classical piece where I can see myself, where I can
see believable female relationships; where the stories I love are
held accountable and told from my perspective”
-Fringe Reading, Audience Q&A
THE AMAZONOMACHY- A Reading at pêhonân, Edmonton Fringe Festival 2021
We were honoured this summer to be asked to share the first half of this epic play at pêhonân- Edmonton Fringe Festival's first all-Indigenous venue! Maarsi & miigwetch to all the artists who welcomed us into the space and to all the wonderful audience members who came out to enjoy the show. Thanks to you, we were able to donate all proceeds from the reading to our friends at WIN House.
The Amazonomachy, A Reading at pêhonân, Edmonton Fringe Festvial 2021
Photos by BB Collective
"Then let a heart of valour in our breasts awake!
We women be not creatures cast in diverse mould from men:
One common light we look on, and one common air we breathe:
Behold you now, this Amazonian champion-
She makes war of her own heart's prompting and fears the face of no man;
for her soul is thrilled with valour and her spirit is invincible"
-Quintas Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy, circa 400AD
Throughout history, the Amazons have always been represented from the slant of the male gaze; a lens warped by a mix of fear and fetishization. Yet, this astonishing quote allows us a unique glimpse of these warriors from a woman's perspective. Tisiphone stands on the walls of Troy as the final days of the decade-long battle close in around her. She watches as the Amazon warrior Penthesilea storms the battlefield, and Tisiphone boldly calls to her fellow women of Troy to summon up their courage too.
Amazons have long been relegated to myth as a cautionary tale- ie, this is what happens if women are allowed to act and live like men. They've been weaponized by patriarchal interests to create potent "Us vs Them" propaganda- Greeks vs Amazons, Men vs Women, Civilized vs Savage. The narrative always ends with these fierce-hearted women meeting their "inevitable" destruction at the hands of some vainglorious "conquering hero".
But the Amazons weren't just a myth- nomadic groups of warrior women really did exist, and they've left evidence of their prowess all across the vast ancient Steppes. What if those real-life warrior women were able to re-matriate their titles as "Amazons"? To tell their own stories, in their own voices?
The Amazonomachy is a fictional epic inspired by both ancient myth and historical fact. By amplifying the beating heart of an intersectional matriarchal society, this story speaks truth to the patriarchal, colonial powers that have dominated the narrative until now and reimagines the possibilities for women and gender-non-conforming folks both in "the classics" and beyond. It is an act of reclamation, self-expression, and an unapologetic celebration of the awesome power of women.
Danielle LaRose- Playwright/Director
Reneltta Arluk- Playwrighting Mentor
Valerie Planche- Directing Mentor
Jordan Campion- Stage Manager
Lola Sanchez- Garment & Graphics Design
Sam Jeffery- Combat & Intimacy Consultant/Performer
Harmonie Tower- Performer
Special Thanks to:
The Edmonton Arts Council
Alberta Playwrights Network
Natalie Pepin & Meeting My Ancestors
pêhonân Venue Staff & Volunteers
The Edmonton Fringe Festival
BB Collective Photography
Listen to playwright Danielle LaRose chat about all things Amazon with Canadian classics lover Liv Albert on her podcast, Let's Talk About Myths, Baby!