Hyperion To A Satyr

category: two act full-length
genre: tragicomedy
running time: two hours
setting: San Francisco and parts of Nevada
period: contemporary

Hyperion, a San Francisco businessman
Serena Hyperion, his daughter
Hal Hyperion, his son
Clara Hyperion, Hal’s ex-wife
Peter Hyperion, their son
Allen, Hal’s cousin, Clara’s boyfriend
Chloe, Hal’s co-worker
Pan, Peter’s music teacher

It is present day San Francisco. Hal Hyperion works for his father at Sun Enterprises, a massive billion dollar finance company. Hal’s father built this company from scratch but he’s planning to retire and leave it in the control of Allen, Hal’s popular upstart cousin who has already replaced him in his marriage to Clara. Their son Peter is a bright, aspiring musician who turns their lives upside down when he steals his dad’s car and heads off to Burning Man with his guitar teacher, Pan. Hal’s father has a heart attack and lands in the trauma ward where Serena, Hal’s emotionally distant sister, is able to confront her father about a ten year old family tragedy before he dies, leaving her control of his company. The new will is discovered by Chloe, Hal’s co-worker, who goes snooping while Hal, Allen and Clara head off to Nevada to find the missing kids. Ultimately, Hal decides he’d rather start his life over than contest the will or Allen’s inevitable advancement and, upon finding Peter and Pan jailed for drug trafficking on an Indian Reservation, takes the first steps towards rebuilding the long neglected relationship with his son.

author’s comments:
This was my contribution to the second San Francisco Olympians Festival and in some ways it makes a very nice counterpart to my first play, Juno En Victoria. Where as that play was very much about women and their relationships with their husbands, siblings, children, and society at large, this play is pre-occupied with men and their relationships to their sons, fathers, and rivals. It features the most heterosexual heavy cast of my entire writing career and I think on some level being able to write believably in that voice is just as much of an accomplishment as taking on the feminine perspective in Juno had been. And yet, for all its obvious distance from my actual life, this may be one of the most biographical plays I have ever written, with allusions to my childhood, my father, my own anxieties about perceived rivals in the artistic world, all composing the meat of the story and the characters. With Hal I feel like I achieved one of my strongest male leads since Chester in The Exiled and while the women of the story aren’t the main players, I love both Clara and Chloe and find them unique in my entourage of female creations (as opposed to Serena, who I also love and who has some of the best material in the play, but is ultimately a very typical Stuart Bousel character). Perhaps my two favorite characters, however, are Pan and Peter, winkingly named so that their storyline- which is one of both desiring desperately to grow up and willfully refusing to- can dispense with subtlety and just revel in its own wackiness. I would happily sit through an entire play about them, were it not that Peter’s best moment comes with Hal, at the very end, when the divergent stories all come together for a brief aching moment akin to those rare occasions when we really connect with our families and aren’t just maintaining the obligations. Deliciously funny, unexpectedly sad, this piece was a bit of a tour-de-force for me and came at the end of a particularly good run in my writing that included crafting Juno, but also Edenites. This play is sort of their child, embodying the best of both predecessors in addition to all kinds of hope for the future, and the promise of some truly exciting surprises to come.

A published version of this piece can be purchased HERE.

Staged Readings:

No Nude Men Productions, October 15, 2011, part of the San Francisco Olympians Festival II: Heavenly Bodies, at the EXIT Theatre in San Francisco, California. Directed by Stuart Bousel; Art Direction by Cody Rishell. Cast: by Kelley B. Greer (Stage Directions); Timothy Beagley (Hal), Brian Martin (Peter), Kevin Copps (Hyperion), Juliana Egley (Serena), Jennifer Lucas (Clara), Dashiell Hillman (Allen), Tonyanna Borkovi (Chloe), Eric Hannan (Pan)

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