Pales was the Latin goddess or god (depending on the interpretation) of shepherds. Romans held the Parilia or Palilia every year on April 21st to pay tribute to her. This festival involved ceremonial purifications of homes, farmsteads and livestock, followed by joyful outdoor feasts. These celebrations included all Romans, since the date was also seen as the traditional founding of Rome, which had previously been sheep pastures.
In Christian Simonsen’s play about Pales, the god of shepherds meets some other minor Roman deities incognito at an overcrowded inn in Bethlehem to discuss the upcoming theological regime change. They know that monotheism will soon be trending, and just like the human inhabitants of the Roman Empire, they must adapt or perish. The only new work Pales has been offered is as the angel who will announce the birth of the baby Jesus to the shepherds tending to their flocks at night. Pales suspects he was shortlisted for the gig solely because the humble shepherds, his former loyal subjects, would probably be less traumatized if a familiar face, however subliminal, delivered the earth-shattering news. But can a god with a dwindling fan base swallow his pride enough to serve as the Opening Act for the next Savior of Mankind?
PALES by Christian Simonsen
Directed by Allison Page
Staged Reading on October 19, 2017 at the EXIT Theatre
Christian Simonsen is honored once again to be a playwright in the San Francisco Olympians Festival. In previous years he contributed the scripts Io: A Sequel to Prometheus Bound, Cassiopeia, Chronus, Ino Leucothea, and Scylla, or Death by the Half-Dozen. His plays have been produced in Denver, Houston, Columbus, Louisville and Minneapolis, as well as overseas in Seoul, Sydney, Oxford and London. Christian’s short play Eve of the Vertebrates won 1st Place in the 2016 Stony Brook University Science Playwriting Competition. Currently he writes for the San Francisco sketch comedy group Killing My Lobster. You can learn more about Christian at www.ChristianSimonsen.com.