Hadad, also known as Ba’al, is the ancient Mesopotamian god of rain, thunderstorms, and fertility. He is often represented as bearded with the head of a bull and holding a club and lightning bolt. There are many different variations on Hadad’s relationship with his brother Yamm, but the most common version is that their father El granted Yamm the power to reign over all the other gods as king. However, Yamm becomes a tyrant and Hadad confronts him in an epic battle, proving triumphant after he strikes Yamm with two magic clubs created by the master craftsman Kothar-wa-Khasis. After this victory, Hadad is proclaimed “Rider on the Clouds,” a title that forever cements his status as a fierce protector of not only the gods, but the people of earth as well.
Of her play about Hadad, Jeanie Ngo writes: “When I was young, my father would wrap my sister and me up in a blanket around him and make a little tent. We’d sit together on rainy nights as he’d weave us fantastic tales, set against the backdrop of thunder and lightening, and we’d take part in a tradition as old as time and spanning across every culture: storytelling. I never realized how different the Vietnamese approach to storytelling was as a child, but as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate how it differs from traditional Western components. In “Hadad”, my goal is to share my treasured rainy night fairytales with the world.”
HADAD by Jeanie Ngo
Directed by Christine Keating
Staged Reading on October 14, 2017 at The EXIT Theatre
Teresita Brown (Trang)
Ittai Geiger (Shadow Man)
Shannon Alan Harger (Shadow Woman)
Siddharth Kusuma (Huy)
Jeanie Ngo is a three-time NaNoWriMo winner who has been featured in Viet Weekly and The Orange County Register. Once an associate poetry editor for Transfer literary magazine, she has since been produced in SFSU’s Shotgun Festival and Spring Fringe Festival. She has also written two novels and a smattering of poetry. This is her second play with the Olympians festival, having produced a full length piece last year for the Egyptian god Ra. Currently trying her hand at a screenplay, it’s clear this gal lives a “write or die” lifestyle.
The image of Hadad was created by Kathi Ha.