The Young Athenian Man


by Fondas Ladis

(Summary of the play)


FIRST SCENE: In Athens, not long before the Olympic Games of 2004. The discovery of a statue depicting a young Athenian man, dating from the 5 th century B.C, is announced to the press. The statue was discovered during the excavations for the construction of the Athens Metro subway system.

SECOND SCENE: Jacqueline Dubaut, a French archeologist, arrives in Athens. Soon after her arrival she is notified to go to the Archeological Museum to participate in an archeology conference where she will also view the Young Athenian statue for the first time.

THIRD SCENE: Aristovoulos Petridis, head of a select archeologist team, welcomes Jacqueline.

FOURTH SCENE: Petridis, Jacqueline and five more archeologists participate in the conference. They admire the Young Athenian and make their first speculations about the identity of the sculptor.

FIFTH SCENE: Jacqueline is in her private office in the museum. She makes her way to the hall where the statue of the Young Athenian is kept. She expresses her admiration out loud. “Who is the creator of this unique statue?” she wonders.

SIXTH SCENE: The Greek Prime Minister announces that, in view of the Olympic Games, an exhibition of the Athens Metro findings will be organized. The exhibition will tour the European cities, making its first stop in Paris and its second in London.

SEVENTH SCENE: The preparations for the tour of the findings begin. There are comments and strong reservations about the security of the findings.

EIGHTH SCENE: Jacqueline wonders about the statue’s story. She addresses the Young Athenian in the second person. Suddenly the statue stirs and utters some words. Both Jacqueline and the Young Athenian believe that they are in a dream. Jacqueline guides him around some of the museum halls. However, he soon returns to his former condition.

NINTH SCENE: Before sunrise. Jacqueline and the Young Athenian, thinly draped in a piece of cloth, emerge from museum. They reach the Metro. They catch a train and they get off at Acropolis station. They walk to the Theatre of Dionysus and then to Propylaea. It is dawning. The Young Athenian looks away in shock when he sets eyes on the ruins of Parthenon. Jacqueline tries to make him realize that he is in a different age. After a long discussion, they return to the museum.


TENTH SCENE: Workers load the exhibits for the international tour onto trucks. Journalists, cameramen, people walk by the museum. Some strongly protest the tour of the exhibits. The archeologist Antonakou protests, as representative of a group of citizens. The Greek Minister of Culture entrusts Jacqueline with the security codes of the boxes in which the statues have been packed. Jacqueline assures him that everything is under control.

ELEVENTH SCENE: Night. The train travels through various European countries. Jacqueline visits the carriage where the box containing the statue of the Young Athenian is kept. Lost in reverie, she once again addresses the statue and urges him to escape.

TWELFTH SCENE: The disappearance of the Young Athenian’s statue is announced to the Greek Prime Minister. Many European Prime Ministers call him for support. A group of journalists – headed by Antonakou – burst into the Prime Minister’s office. The government, however, decides that the tour of the exhibits will continue.

THIRTEENTH SCENE: Some exhibits in the Louvre Museum come to life. They move across the corridors and invite the Young Athenian to leave the “shore of the dead” and return to their real, though “dark”, world.

FOURTEENTH SCENE: The Young Athenian, properly dressed in casual clothes, is inside an apartment situated in a Parisian suburb. Jacqueline assures him that her love will keep him safe from harm. He wonders about the meaning of the word “love”. Jacqueline asks him to start a new life, free of the “slavery of art”. He falls asleep on her lap.

FIFTEENTH SCENE: It is the opening of the Greek exhibition in the Louvre. Instead of the Young Athenian’s statue, a life-size picture of it is exhibited.

SIXTEENTH SCENE: Greek police officers and members of Interpol burst into Jacqueline’s home. She introduces the Young Athenian as a deaf-mute friend of hers. They search the apartment in vain.

SEVENTEENTH SCENE: Jacqueline and the Young Athenian are in the British Museum. They tour the Egyptian and Assyrian archeological exhibits, the exhibits from the temple of Epicurean Apollo and Lycian Apollo as well as the halls with the Parthenon marbles. While the Young Athenian has various thoughts at the sight of the ruins before him, Jacqueline points out that he can never return to that age.

EIGHTEENTH SCENE: They visit museums and most frequented areas of London, Paris and other cities. They come back to Athens but their mind constantly returns to the marbles taken from the metopes and friezes of Parthenon. The Young Athenian tries to make sense of his feelings and impressions.


NINETEENTH SCENE: The preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games are at their peak. There is now less interest in the disappearance of the Young Athenian, but the investigation continues at the same pace. All around the world, people compare the Olympic Games of antiquity to the modern Games.

TWENTIETH SCENE: The Young Athenian tells Jacqueline that he wants to return to his age. She reveals to him that he made it to the present in the form of the statue and that he cannot live again in the 5 th century B.C. She asks him to stay with her in the present.

TWENTY-FIRST SCENE: While the preparations for the Olympic Games continue, Jacqueline takes the Young Athenian at night to the lit up Panathinaiko Stadium. They disagree about the form and the meaning of the Games in the contemporary world and in antiquity.

TWENTY-SECOND SCENE: Greek Police Investigators confer with their Interpol counterparts. Petridis and Antonakou are present. The latter announces that she has hired a private investigator to help trace the lost statue.

TWENTY-THIRD SCENE: Detective Victor Marlidis, hired by Antonakou, goes to the hotel where Jacqueline is staying to sneak into her apartment.

TWENTY-FOURTH SCENE: On the terrace of Jacqueline’s apartment, at the hotel. She and the Young Athenian discuss the Panathinaea Festival of ancient Athens. He describes how he participated in the Panathinaea procession. Marlidis eavesdrops on them.

TWENTY-FIFTH SCENE: The detective tries to draw some conclusion from what he has heard. He wonders whether these two are crazy or simply trying to play a trick on him.


TWENTY-SIXTH SCENE: Jacqueline and the Young Athenian go to the Archeological Museum, this time as visitors. He asks her to help him become a statue again. “But how?” asks Jacqueline. “Only you have the power”, he says. She accepts as long as the Young Athenian promises to return to her anytime she asks him to. Slowly he goes back to being a statue.

TWENTY-SEVENTH SCENE: The District Attorney, Greek and foreign police officers as well as Marlidis enter Jacqueline’s apartment, while she’s gone. They do not find anything. When she returns to her apartment and sees them, she faints.

TWENTY-EIGHTH SCENE: The Young Athenian is back on his pedestal at the Museum. Nobody can provide a logical explanation for this. The international news agencies make it their front-page story. In the meantime, the Olympic Games commence. Thousands of foreigners visit the museum to see the statue.

TWENTY-NINTH SCENE: Antonakou guides some tourists round the hall with the Young Athenian.

THIRTIETH SCENE: Marlidis wonders about the sudden disappearance of Jacqueline’s mysterious friend.

THIRTY-FIRST SCENE: Night. Jacqueline approaches the Young Athenian’s statue in the museum. He moves slightly. He recognizes her but speaks incomprehensibly, using words from his time. Slowly he sinks again into his world.

THIRTY-SECOND SCENE: Antonakou announces to Jacqueline that she has just been re-assigned to France. She doesn’t believe her. Petridis expresses his fondness of her. Jacqueline is desperate. She turns to Antonakou and asks her to intervene so her departure can be postponed.

THIRTY-THIRD SCENE: Inside Athens Police Headquarters. Everybody is satisfied with the developments and Jacqueline’s imminent departure.

THIRTY-FOURTH SCENE: For the last time, Jacqueline asks the Young Athenian to choose to stay in contemporary life. He tells her that his place is on the pedestal of the museum. Maybe that’s for the best, he adds. He also tells her that she would eventually abandon him, too. Nobody can escape his time. On the other hand, if everything is possible in the name of love, let her be the one to come to him.

THIRTY-FIFTH SCENE: Antonakou enters. She tries to eavesdrop on what Jacqueline is saying. She is explaining to the Young Athenian, who has now forever become a statue, that it would be sacrilegious to enter in ancient Greek reality. In the name of true love, which is above all else, she asks him to come to her. Antonakou makes her presence known and calls Jacqueline crazy, telling her that the statues can never be brought to life. She pities her and advises her to calm down. She leaves. Collapsed at the base of the pedestal, Jacqueline continues to mourn her lost love.