The Tale of Heroic Theseus and the Minotaur
I wrote this play about 9 years ago now for a leaver’s assembly I was doing with Year 6 at my old school. I found it when I was digging through some old files and thought I would put it up as a free thing for any other teachers to use if they wanted to. It seemed to go down quite well when I put it on. We did it in the round in the school hall. You could change the songs if you wanted and update some of the cultural references (is Fifa Street still a thing?). Do whatever you want with it. It was for a class of 30 and it lasted for about 45 minutes.
If you’re not a teacher, just feel free to have a read. I really enjoyed writing it.
I’ve attached it as a Word Document as well at the top of this post. If you do decide to use it, it would be nice to get a name-check somewhere or a plug for the website
Host – introduces stuff
Horace and Lydia – two people in love
Theseus – the hero, of course
Jason – his mate
Friends (4) – leeches and parasites
King Minos – he’s really very friendly
Chancellor – wants money
Chief Attendant – wants shooting
Ariadne – wants a man
Attendants (4) – want to play Fifa
Aegeus – King of Athens
Claudia – his wife
Odysseus – his mate
Penelope – his mate’s wife
Sacrifices (3) – dead meat
Guards (2) – no words
Servants (2) – champagne?
Minotaur – big softy
Minotaur jr. – little tyke
The Tale of Heroic Theseus and the Minotaur
Enter Host –
Host – Good morning ladies and gentleman, boys and girls. Welcome to year 6’s leavers’ assembly, in which we present to you a famous tale, a tale of courage and love and monsters and ships, and, other things that are really interesting too. Without further ado, we present to you the unforgettable tale of Brave Theseus and the, the (reaches for script) Minotaur, yes of course. Theseus and the Minotaur
All enter from corners singing Zippedy doo-dah
Enter Horace and Lydia with a can of Dr. Pepper each.
Horace – Oh, Lydia, it’s such a wonderful morning. I can’t believe your father allowed us to be married. Its going to be so, wonderful.
Lydia – Wonderful, yes. (she crawls under a ladder) We have our whole lives ahead of us, and we’re going to be so happy. (a black cat walks across her path).
Horace – So happy! I got you a present, by the way, here.
He hands her a wrapped present, she opens it to discover a lovely hand mirror.
Lydia – It’s gorgeous. Oh I forgot, we got some post this morning. Shall I open it?
Horace – yes my dear. What’s the worst that could happen?
They laugh, she hands him the mirror, opens the letter and reads:
Lydia – Dear Horace and Lydia of Athens, you have been chosen from all the thousands of eligible men and women in Athens to represent us in the annual ‘Get eaten Alive’ competition in Crete. An armed guard will collect you this afternoon.
Horace drops the mirror, it cracks.
Horace – Oh the cruel Gods! They’re going to send us off to be eaten by the Minotaur.
Lydia – Is there nothing we can do about it?
Horace – I could kill the minotaur.
Lydia – Yes, you are brave and strong, my love. I’m sure you could kill the mighty beast, with its killing horns and immense strength. I’m sure you would not be trampled and gored horribly like all……..
Horace – All right, all right. I have to admit it is a monster. It would take a hero to defeat such a thing. I’m not a hero, though, and I don’t have any heroes in my phone book either.
Lydia – We’ll think of something, my love.
They exit, Enter Theseus, Jason and “friends.”
Friends (together) – You’re such a hero / such good dress sense / have you been working out? / tell us what you said to him / oh do tell us
Friend 1 – yes, do tell us.
Theseus – So, I looked him square in the eye and I said, well, I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I remember it was very brave.
Friends gasp with delight.
Friend 2 – Is it true you once lifted a whole cow?
Jason (to audience) – More of a push than a lift, really?
Theseus – Of course it’s true, do you doubt my strength?
Jason – (to audience) Now that I think about it, it was less a cow and more a, calf,.
Friend 3 – Is it true you dumped Helen of Troy?
Theseus – She was too clingy, plus Troy, well, long distance relationships!
Jason (to audience) – Yes, after a few dates she wished the distance between them was a lot further
Friend 4 – I heard that the Spartan army wouldn’t have you because you were too tough, and made them look bad.
Jason – Oh, now hang on, that’s just rubbish.
Jason remembers his place, and lowers his head in embarrassment.
Theseus – No Jason’s quite right. The Spartans wouldn’t have me, but it was because I was from Athens, my beloved city. Ha, I would never leave my people.
More gasps of approval from friends.
Friend 1 – So what heroic deed are you going to do next, Theseus. Something terribly brave I imagine. Why not go to Crete and kill the Minotaur, and free us of King Minos?
Theseus – (gulps) The Minotaur! Yes, I could do that easily, but, but….
Jason whispers in his ear
Theseus – Brilliant. Yes, the Minotaur is a matter of politics between my father and King Minos. I can’t interfere in politics. I’m just a Prince. It’s just not done to go round committing murder on monsters that are part of an arrangement between two kings. I tell you what though. I could murder a glass of wine.
He laughs fiends laugh. Jason shakes his head. They exit
Host – Meanwhile, across the water in Crete, King Minos is having some problems with his staff.
Enter Minos, Chancellor, Chief Attendant.
Minos – It’s important to be polite, I’ve told you a dozen times. Plus, you’ve missed out loads of full stops and capital letters, and that just makes us look silly
Chief Att. – I was trying to inject a bit of humour into the whole thing, Your Majesty.
Minos – Humour is one thing, but renaming our tribute from Athens, probably the most important political victory my father ever won against the Athenians, as a ‘get eaten Alive’ contest, is just not polite. It’s this kind of thing that starts wars.
Chancellor – not the mere fact that we’re feeding their young men and women to a monster.
Minos – We can do without your sarcasm, Chancellor. The sacrifice is symbolic. It stands for our power over Athens. They send us their people……
Chief att. – to be eaten alive…..
Minos – ……And we don’t invade Athens. It’s a state of affairs that has existed for many years, and I don’t see why we should change it.
Chancellor – How about the fact that our army is now half the size of theirs.
Minos and Chief att. – ssshhh!
Minos – they don’t know that. All I’m saying is that we must be polite about asking them to send us their young ones
Chief att. – to be eaten alive!
Chancellor – Why don’t we just ask for money like every other tribute-asking place in the world.
Minos – Money, that’s all you think about!
Chief att. – That’s all he thinks about, your Majesty.
Minos – asking for money is just, well, greedy.
Chief att. – and wrong!
Chancellor – I see, so it’s OK to ask for people to feed to your “pet.” But not to ask for some money to help us feed our own people.
Minos – he’s not my pet. He’s his own monster. (Exit Chancellor) Now then, speaking of monsters, where’s that daughter of mine?
Chief att. – in the garden, your majesty!
Minos – In the garden? Again?
Chief att. – she spends a lot of time there lately, Your Majesty, lazing around in reclining chairs, reading Hello magazine, she neglects her studies.
Minos – Strange girl. She gets it all from her mother, you know.
Chief att. – Of course, Your Majesty!
Enter Ariadne, playing with her hair, followed by attendants
Ariadne – I’m so bored.
Attendant 1 – Shall I sing for you, highness?
Ariadne – Not if you wish to live the rest of the day.
Attendant 2 – We could play a game?
Attendant 3 – Hide and seek perhaps?
Attendant 4 – Monopoly?
Attendant 2 – Fifa Street?
Ariadne – I’m bored with games. If only I could find a Prince to marry.
Attendant 1 – What about the noblemen of Crete? There’s some really good looking men here on the Island.
Ariadne – No, no, these Cretans are so boring. They talk of nothing but goats and football. I wish I could find a real hero.
Attendant 2 – You could move to America.
Song – America (interrupted by Ariadne)
Ariadne – Wait a minute, was that just a flimsy excuse to sing a song?
Attendant 2 – Yes.
Ariadne – Okay! As long as we’re clear on that?
Song – America (all)
Attendant 3 – What of the Athenian men that are shipped here every year? Maybe you could find a hero amongst them.
Ariadne – Yes, and when he’s been gored to death and eaten by the minotaur, we could be married. A splendid idea.
Attendant 2 – (thinking) You could help him in some way, give him something to help him defeat the minotaur.
Ariadne – My father would never forgive me.
Attendant 1 – He wouldn’t know. Besides, once your hero defeats the minotaur you could run off together and be married and live in Athens and…..
Ariadne – Now what a good idea. There are lots of lovely shops in Athens, and restaurants and clubs……..
Attendant 4 – Yes, you would live like a princess.
Ariadne – I am a princess. We shall have to see what fate brings us on the boat from Athens this year.
Host – Back in Athens, land of great shops, restaurants and clubs, etc, old king Aegeus is pretty worried about his position. Sending 14 people off to get eaten every year doesn’t do wonders for your popularity as a leader.
Enter Aegeus, Claudia, Odysseus and Penelope. Aegeus is clearly frustrated about something.
Aegeus – This has to stop. We must think of something to stop this. Today I passed a man on the street and he called me a coward and a murderer. To my face! To actually say that to the King..
Claudia – My poor dear, what did you do?
Aegeus – Well, I had him put to death obviously. He can’t accuse me of being a murderer anymore, now can he?
Odysseus – Quite right, sire, but what are we to do about the Crete situation?
Aegeus – We need help. Someone to go to Crete and kill the minotaur. Claudia, did you put together the list of heroes I asked for.
Claudia – I did.
Penelope – Who’s on the list?
Aegeus – yes, read it to us.
Claudia – The A-Team.
Aegeus – Too many of them, it would cost too much.
Claudia – Sometimes they don’t charge.
Penelope – But there’s always the chance that they will.
Aegeus – yes, move on.
Claudia – Doctor Alan Grant?
Aegeus – Minotaur, not dinosaur.
Claudia – There’s that chap in the Blue box.
Odysseus – bow tie, the old man, or the one with the celery on his jacket.
Aegeus – No, no, I don’t trust people who wear vegetables on their clothes, move on.
Claudia – Achilles?
Odysseus – He died at Troy
Claudia – Hercules?
Penelope – He doesn’t work since he became a god.
Odysseus – Would you?
Claudia – Perseus?
Aegeus – Who?
Claudia – Perseus. You know, he killed that woman with the snakes in her hair, and he has a flying horse.
Aegeus – We need someone to kill a savage half bull, half man, not some little woman with bad hair.
Penelope – plus, what good is a flying horse going to be in the labyrinth?
Enter Jason and Theseus
Claudia – well that’s all there is?
Odysseus – How about your son?
Aegeus – My son?
Odysseus – yes, Theseus. Now there’s a hero. Why not send him?
Theseus – Send me where?
Aegeus – That’s not a bad idea, you know.
Claudia – He is a hero, after all.
Theseus – What’s not a bad idea?
Enter Horace and Lydia, along with other sacrifices, with armed guards
Aegeus – we were just thinking, you would be the right person to go to Crete and kill the minotaur, and put an end to our…
Theseus – Whoa there Dad. Hang on a second. There’s no way I can kill the…..
Theseus realizes he’s being watched. He’ll look a right coward if he says no, and his reputation will be finished.
Theseus – I’ve got a pretty full schedule this year Dad.
Horace – Please, your highness, come with us and kill this terrible monster.
Lydia – Please
Other sacrifices – please!
Theseus – Father, a word, please!
Theseus takes his father and Jason to one side
Theseus – Look Dad, I’d love to go and kill the minotaur for you, but I’m not in my best physical shape.
Jason – Oh, come now Theseus. Didn’t you say to me this very morning how you would “love to kill the minotaur?” Now’s your chance.
Theseus – Thankyou, Jason. Yes father, I would love to kill the minotaur. I just need some time to train properly. It is a mighty beast, is it not?
Aegeus – How long? A few hours?
Theseus – No father. I’d say……………………… a year? I’ll go with the boat next year and kill the minotaur.
Aegeus – excellent. (To the crowd) It has been decided. Theseus will go to Crete and destroy the minotaur!
Cheers from the crowd
Aegeus – next year!
Cheers slowly die away and are replaced by a stony silence.
Horace – what about us? We go to our deaths.
Aegeus – oh, I’m sure it won’t be that bad. We will mourn you for 13 days as is the tradition for heroes.
Lydia – Thanks a lot. That’s the last time I vote for you. That’s what democracy gets you. Next year indeed.
Horace, Lydia and the sacrifices are led off by the guards.
Exit Aegeus, Penelope, Odysseus and Claudia
Jason – they weren’t too happy, were they?
Theseus – Never mind them. What am I going to do? I can’t kill the minotaur. I’ll be killed for sure. A year to live, and so much to fit into it.
Song – The Great Pretender
Jason – Oh, come on, you just need to train hard, that’s all. Be all you can be, or all you can be. You could become the hero you pretend you are.
Theseus – yes, I can train, and train hard. I’ve got a year. One year to become the ultimate fighting machine.
Exit Jason, enter Odysseus.
Odysseus – A very brave thing you did there my boy.
Theseus – It was my duty, but I fear I may die in the labyrinth.
Odysseus – Nonsense. I think a lot of this stuff is made up you know. I mean, who ever heard of a half man, half-bull. It’s probably all bull.
Theseus – You think?
Odysseus – yes, yes. Monsters aren’t real. They’re just make believe to keep people scared.
Theseus – Then where do all our people go when we send them to Crete. How come none of them have ever returned?
Odysseus – they’re probably still over there, living life, sipping cocktails on the beach.
Theseus – You think?
Odysseus – Theseus, I’m at least 54% sure that there is no such thing as a minotaur.
Theseus – If you put it like that?
Odysseus – You’ll be fine. Just go over there, kill a cow with spikes on its head, and then come back a hero. Everybody wins.
Theseus – Yes, yes of course.
Enter Theseus. He indulges in various “training” for his fight with the minotaur, accompanied by the Rocky theme music.
He does a couple of press ups, then reaches for a magazine, frustrating Jason.
He works on a speedball, letting it knock him over flat.
He runs around the hall, shadow boxing, but spending more time shaking hands with audience members and getting his picture taken with other children.
He is then followed round the hall by Reception in a scene reflecting the film Rocky, ending on the stage.
They exit and Theseus reclines in a chair.
Jason – Aren’t you supposed to be running?
Theseus – I am running. I’m running a bath. I need to unwind. This training takes a lot out of a man.
Jason exits, shaking his head. Theseus reads his paper for a moment longer then exits at an easy pace.
Host – After a year of er… extensive training, Theseus was ready to face the terrible minotaur. Well, as ready as he would ever be. He joined the other sacrifices and they sailed away to the island of Crete, where King Minos, and his savage beastie, lay in wait.
Enter King Minos, Ariadne, Attendant 2, Chancellor, Chief Attendant
Chief att. – My lookouts tell me the boat from Athens will arrive any minute Your Majesty.
Chancellor – Pizza delivery for your pet monster.
King Minos – Now, you’ve been warned. I’m not going to have that argument again. Let’s just see what the boat brings.
Ariadne – (to Attendant 2 and audience) Hopefully a hero, not a bunch of wimps like last year.
Chancellor – are they to receive the usual greeting?
King Minos – Of course. No need to change a custom.
Chancellor – Straight to the minotaur it is then.
Chief att. – Does he know?
King Minos – I assume so. He hasn’t returned my e-mails for a while. It wouldn’t be like him to miss a meal, though.
Offstage a voice cries “drop anchor.” Moments later, Enter Theseus and other sacrifices.
Araidne – Ooh, check that one out. He’s got a nice….
King Minos – ….Ahh, so glad to see you, my honoured guests. Welcome to Crete!
Sacrifice 1 – Thanks very much. We were a bit worried, they said we were all going to be eaten alive as soon as we got here.
Chief att. – Ha ha ha. No, no, no. eaten alive as soon as you go here. No that won’t be for at least an hour or so.
Theseus – King Minos, a moment of your time, please.
Chancellor – My, my, its young Theseus, son of the King of Athens. Wonder what he did to deserve this fate?
King Minos – Young Theseus. What an unexpected pleasure. I’d hoped to meet you one day. Such a shame its only to be for an hour or so.
Theseus – Yes, yes, so if you’ll just show me this cow of yours, I’ll kill it and we’ll be off back to Athens. My Dad’s idea, you know how it is.
King Minos – Cow?
Theseus – Come on, you don’t expect me to believe those silly stories about a monster do you…..?
They all look at him like he’s insane
Theseus – Do you?
Chancellor – I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, my boy, but the Minotaur is very real. You may have more of a task killing it than you have been led to believe.
Theseus – The minotaur is…… real?
Chief att. – D’uh! Course it’s real. Oh this is going to be great.
Theseus – but I’ll be eaten alive
Sacrifices – We’ll all be eaten alive!!!!
King Minos – Now, now. Don’t you worry about being eaten. I’ve heard it’s not that bad at all. Plus, look.. refreshments!
Enter servants with champagne for the sacrifices
Chief att. – It’s the good stuff too. We treat our guests well.
Theseus and the sacrifices nervously hold their flutes, trying to drink, but their mouths are too dry with the fear welling up inside them.
King Minos – Well, now. I’ll let my attendant take you down to the labyrinth. I’ll see you all, oh, no I don’t suppose I will see you again, will I?
Theseus and the others are herded off around the stage and out by the Chief attendant. They exit
Exit Minos, Chancellor and Attendant 2.
Enter Theseus, sacrifices, Chief att.
Chief att. – Here’s the entrance to the labyrinth. Just a quick safety briefing, then I’ll let you in.
Sacrifice 1 – Safety briefing, but we’re all going to be killed and eaten?
Sacrifice 2 – You don’t care about our safety at all.
Chief att. – Not your safety, the minotaur’s. Now will all ladies please remove high-heeled shoes, any earrings, necklaces can be placed in this tray. Gentlemen, no wristwatches.
Sacrifice 3 – Can’t we keep our watches? This was given to me by my father.
Chief att. – I don’t make the rules, I’m afraid. We have to keep the minotaur safe, now don’t we? The last thing you want when you’re gnawing on an arm is to get your teeth stuck in someone’s watch. That can put you right off your meal.
They hand over their jewellery.
Chief att. – Thankyou so much. I’ll let you get on with it then. Have fu…..you know!
Chief att. exits
Theseus – Oh dear, Odysseus was wrong. We’re going to be killed.
Ariadne – Oh, Theseus, my brave hero!
Theseus – have we met?
Sacrifice 2 – She was staring at you when we were with the king. Think she fancies you or something.
Ariadne – My love!
Theseus – please don’t call me that.
Ariadne – My love I know a way to defeat the minotaur
Theseus – You do?
Ariadne – Here take this (she hands him a ball of string),
Theseus – Oh, okay, yes. A ball of string, great. Here I was thinking I was going to be gored and eaten by a savage beast, but its okay now because I’ve got a ball of string. Excuse me everyone, this woman is insane. Let’s ignore her until she goes away.
Ariadne pulls him reluctantly to one side.
Ariadne – the string will help you find your way out of the labyrinth. You’ll get lost without it. As for the minotaur, I don’t think you’ll have a problem there. Any man with manly arm muscles like yours will be able to deal with our minotaur.
Theseus – seriously?
Ariadne – I’m sure of it. But you will need that string.
Theseus – How can I ever repay you, er. My love?
Ariadne – take me away from Crete, take me somewhere really nice, with a Harvey Nic’s, and a Starbuck’s
Theseus – Deal. Everyone? I’ve had a great idea. You wait here. I’ll take the string to help me find my way out of the labyrinth when I’m done.
Sacrifices cheer. Theseus exits.
Theseus walks through the labyrinth with a torch, holding onto his ball of string, winding his way through the crowd as if in the dark, tying the string onto chairs around the hall. Enter minotaur, roaring. Theseus freezes, shaking with fear. The minotaur’s roaring turns out to be the beginnings of a bad bout of coughing, and he bumps into Theseus quite accidentally. They both jump.
Minotaur – Who are you, what are you doing here?
Theseus – Me?
Minotaur – Yes, you, and what are you doing with all that string? Someone could trip and hurt themselves.
Theseus – Its so I can get out of here once I’ve killed you.
Minotaur – oh, you’re from Athens, there’s usually more of you. Come with me then.
Theseus – can we not fight here and be done with it? I welcome death now.
Minotaur – That’s not the right attitude going into a fight. Come on. I’m too old for this fighting business now, I’ll take you where you need to go.
They exit through the main doors, Enter Minotaur junior. He stands in front of a mirror practicing his roaring.it’s more squeaking really, but he’s putting a lot into it, bless him. Enter Theseus and the minotaur.
Minotaur Junior – Dad! Dad! (he runs up and gives his old man a hug)
Theseus – What’s this?
Minotaur – This, is my son. I’m training him up to take over from me. I’m too old to be eating people now. I need more vegetables and pulses, better for the heart, plus, breath issues. He’ll give you quite a fight though, I’m sure.
Minotaur junior – I’m gonna get medieval on you!
Theseus – What? I’m not fighting him, he’s just a kid.
Minotaur – Well, that’s a bit of a fix. What to do? Are you sure you won’t fight him? He’s all muscle, you know?
Minotaur junior – Only thing that’ll beat you to hospital is the headlights of the ambulance, boy!
Theseus – yeah right!
Minotaur junior runs up and kicks Theseus in the shins. Theseus howls in pain.
Minotaur – Hold on, hold on. Son, I don’t think we should do this anymore. I just don’t have the taste for violence anymore, and seeing you get violent just fills me with sadness. Why don’t we go off and find something better to do? We could join a rodeo, or something nice like that.
Minotaur junior – But I could knock his lights out, Dad!
Minotaur – I know, but it’s just not right. Come on, let’s go to Disneyland?
Minotaur junior – Yeah!!!
Theseus – Won’t King Minos hunt you down for deserting him?
Minotaur – Just tell him you killed me. He’ll be none the wiser.
Theseus – Sounds good to me.
Minotaur junior – you got off easy sucker!
Sacrifice 1 – Maybe we should go and look for him. He’s been gone a long time.
Sacrifice 2 – He told us to wait here, and that’s what we’re going to do.
Enter Theseus, limping.
Sacrifice 2 – Did you defeat the minotaur, my lord?
Theseus – I killed him goooood.
Theseus – Now let’s get out of here (to audience) by the way, did you know that “Let’s get out of here,” is one of the most used phrases in film history?
Ariadne – I told you you’d be alright, didn’t I?
Theseus – yes, you did? I owe you big time.
Ariadne – Get me off this island, my love, so we can be married.
Theseus – Married! Whoa, I never agreed to that
Ariadne – But you must, or I will scream, and tell my father the King how you never fought the mino….
Theseus – Okay, okay.
Ariadne – Good, now let’s get out of here, and to your boat, then we can talk all about photographers and cakes and my dress, and I think you’d look good in a tux, and there’s the venue, an island perhaps, and the flowers.
Host – That went on for a while. You don’t want to see that. They went to the boat and she bent his ear about flowers and photographers and all that, and off they sailed. Theseus did his best to be interested, but really he was quite shallow, and he ended up dumping her………no, he actually dumped her, on an island. She was fine, don’t worry. She met a God and lived happily ever after. As for Theseus…
Exit Host. Enter Theseus and sacrifices as if at sea
Sacrifice 1 – How long before we reach Athens, my Lord?
Theseus – It’s just round the next headland.
Sacrifice 3 – Your father will be so glad to see you.
Theseus – Yep. You know I’m sure I’ve forgotten something though.
Enter Jason, King Aegeus
Jason – Here comes his ship.
King Aegeus – Black sails, oh no!!!! No!!!!
Jason – What?
King Aegeus – Black sails mean my boy was killed. He promised to change the sails to white if he was victorious. No, I must throw myself from the cliffs into the sea.
Jason – He might just have forgotten.
King Aegeus – (pause) No, he could not forget something so important. No, I must jump to join him in the afterlife.
Jason – Sure? He has forgotten important things before, a lot.
King Aegeus – No, he would not forget what would cause his father so much pain and heartache.
Jason – Final answer?
The king jumps in despair. Jason looks over the cliff edge and shakes his head. Enter Theseus.
Jason – I knew it. I told him.
Theseus – Greetings friend. I have returned. Where is my father?
Jason – Err, on the beach!
Theseus – The beach?
Jason – Yeah, well, most of him is. Some’s in the water now, oh, and some is in that gull I think.
Theseus looks over the cliff edge
Theseus – My poor father. What drove him to this terrible fate?
Jason – You forgot to change your sails.
Theseus – Oh, I knew there was something. My poor father. He should have known I’d forget though, really.
Jason – And, on the upside, it does mean you’re King, now
Theseus – I suppose it does, yes.
Jason – So how was it?
Theseus – The minotaur? Easier than you’d think.
Jason – You did it then?
Theseus – Jason my friend, I was brilliant!
Jason – I’m sure you were.
Song – Three Little Birds
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