Aeschylus The Argo At San Francisco Maritime

At 2:45 p.m. on October 3rd, 2015 I performed a site responsive theater piece of the only remaining fragment from Aeschylus’ The Argo in the hold of the schooner C.A. Thayer at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.

based on Aeschylus’ The Argo
adapted and directed by Jamie Lyons
The early stages of the Argonaut expedition
perhaps even its very beginning

The Argo was constructed
by the shipwright Argus with the help of Athena

In her prow a piece of timber
from the sacred forest of Dodona
spoke prophecies

In the end
Argo was consecrated to Poseidon
then translated to the sky
into the constellation of Argo Navis



The Fragment…

The holy speaking beam of the Argo
groaned aloud

Site Specific Theatre, Aeschylus, The Argo

Aeschylus’ The Argo


The three-masted schooner C.A. Thayer at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

E3.8495n. CA THAYER, 3m, schoone,r stranded at Gray's Harbor, 1903. Credit; San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. May be protected by copyright.

In 1895, Danish-born Hans D. Bendixsen
built C.A. Thayer in his Humboldt Bay shipyard

Between 1895 and 1912
C.A.Thayer sailed from
E.K. Wood’s lumber mill in Grays Harbor, Washington, to San Francisco
she also carried lumber as far south as Mexico
and occasionally even ventured offshore to Hawaii and Fiji

After sustaining serious damage
during a heavy, southeasterly gale
C.A. Thayer’s lumber trade days ended
and she entered the salmon trade

Each April from 1912 to 1924
C.A. Thayer hauled 28-foot gill-net boats
bundles of barrel staves
and tons of salt from San Francisco to Western Alaska
returning each September
her hold stacked with barrels of salted salmon
Max Stern
a reporter for the San Francisco Newspaper The Daily News
documented one of these journeys aboard the C.A. Thayer
his reports ultimately changed labor laws

When World War I broke out
C.A. Thayer carried Northwest fir
and Mendocino redwood to Australia

From 1925-1930
C.A. Thayer made yearly voyages from Poulsbo, Washington
to the Bering Sea codfishing waters (off the Alaskan coast)
In addition to supplies
she carried upwards of thirty men north

After a decade-long, Depression-era lay-up in Lake Union, Seattle
the U.S. Army purchased C.A. Thayer from J.E. Shields (a prominent Seattle codfisherman)
the Army removed her masts
using the ship as an ammunition barge in British Columbia

After World War II
Shields bought his ship back from the Army
fitted her with masts once again
and returned her to codfishing

With her final voyage, in 1950
C.A. Thayer entered the history books
as the last commercial sailing vessel to operate on the West Coast

The State of California purchased C.A. Thayer in 1957
and she was ultimately transferred to the National Park Service in 1978
designated a National Historic Landmark in 1984