Showcase Audience Comments
“Brilliant, entertaining, moving, original.”
“An exquisite use of myth to represent the change that is so needed in our world today.”
“A beautiful, touching and, surprisingly funny romp through the myth of Persephone as an allegory for the timeless interplay of masculine and feminine energies.”'
The myth of Persephone in the Underworld was the most powerful foundational story of ancient Greece. It was enacted every year at the Temple of the Great Mother Demeter in the town of Eleusis, from 1500 BCE to 500 CE. These Eleusinian Mysteries had a profound impact, for better and for worse, on the thought, governance, and beliefs of Western culture, and they are still reverberating in our subconscious all these centuries later.
Zeus and Hades normalized the pursuit of power and profit above all else. Persephone’s rape gave tacit approval to the subjugation of not only women and girls but of the feminine spirit itself, in men as well as in women, and in the culture itself. The Persephone myth warned that if we do not listen to the feminine voice within humanity and nature, we will reap devastation upon ourselves. The play is a wake-up call.
Our approach is to transform those aspects of the Persephone myth that are holding us captive to outdated modes of being. While the myth takes place in ancient Greece, the play is able to travel to modern day times, making clear the parallels between the original myth, how it has impacted us, and how to transform it. To do this, Hermes and Hekate, the only two gods in the Greek pantheon able to travel at will among the realms, can also transform themselves into unexpected guises, including tango dancers, acrobats, Southern Baptist Choir directors, and volcanic forces of the night. These devices bring levity and added clarity to the epic drama of the story. THE MYSTERIES closes with a rousing call to action.
Dramatic, socially-conscious adaptation of an ancient myth
Sung-through modern musical-opera
- 2 Acts
- 3 Principals (female) – Persephone, Demeter and Hekate
- 3 Principals (male) – Zeus, Hades and Hermes
- 8 Chorus (female) - could be reduced to 4
- 8 Chorus (male) -could be reduced to 4
- 5 Orchestra - Guitar, keyboards, cello, bass. Could triple or quadruple with augmented strings, keyboards, percussion and sound effects
- Casting - Open to actors of all ethnicities and genders in a range of age from the youthful Persephone to the seasoned Hekate. Some solo chorus members will double in various supporting roles.
- Full sing-through by the author with representatives from Jean Houston's Social Artistry Program in Ashland, Oregon, 2016.
- Full read-through, 8 actors, at BMO Theatre Centre, Vancouver, BC, Nov. 2016.
- Sung-through Showcase, 14 vocalists/actors, 5 musicians, Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Vancouver, BC, June, 2017.
AUDIENCE RESPONSE TO THE SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE
The vast majority of more than 400 feedback forms provided enthusiastic reviews (available on request), as well as some deeply insightful suggestions that have been incorporated into the script. Here are some of the comments:
“Profound lyrics and beautiful music. Makes you go from tears to big laughs.”
“Exciting, riveting, profound, and very moving.”
“A brilliant musical masterpiece that brings our current global anxieties into sharp focus through Greek mythology.”
“Smart, witty and wise.”
“ Spectacular. The voices, the depth, the humour, so moving.”
“A powerful parable that spans the ages, beautifully transcribed for modern audiences.”
“A musical joy, multi-layered messages woven into the myth of Persephone with pathos, humour, current world topics and great story telling.”
“Fantastic, topical, thought-provoking, a story for our times.”
“An ancient story made relevant to today. A message we need to hear.”
“Great music, passion, lots of humour, myths to plumb.”
“Moving, touching, funny and engaging.”
ANN MORTIFEE’S first musical, Reflections on Crooked Walking, ran every Christmas for four years and was nominated for a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy). Her fourth, When the Rains Come, was showcased on Broadway at the New York Festival of New Musicals. THE MYSTERIES is her sixth.