The Women’s Mysteries
A full-length verse play, set in archaic Greek, at a beginning of history, as memory become myth. It’s the birth of civilization, centuries before the Classical era. It’s from a story in Plutarch, at a juncture of poetry, religion, politics and performance.
Athens is finally at peace, after many years of war with the neighboring city. Talk of war is forbidden, under penalty of death. But the city is still split by poverty, debt and civil unrest.
The women’s secret rites of goddess worship are being restored. The women of the city leave for their ritual outside the city, a ritual forbidden to men.
Solon, a poet of Athens, inspired by the new Oracle at Delphi, recites a poem in the marketplace. Pretending to be mad to avoid the death penalty, he urges war again. He claims their former enemies are planning to disrupt the women’s mysteries and kidnap women. He is made leader of a war party and sent to defend the women…
Characters include Solon the poet; the Python of Delphi; the Heirophant of the Goddess shrine; Persephone, girl goddess, Queen of the Dead; and a women’s chorus. Settings include archaic Athens, the shrine of the Delphic Oracle, and the cave of Eleusis, site of the women’s mysteries.