Scripts Based on Favorite Greek Myths
That Students Can Read and Reread to Develop Their Fluency
NEW YORK • TORONTO • LONDON • AUCKLAND • SYDNEY MEXICO CITY • NEW DELHI • HONG KONG • BUENOS AIRES
Scholastic Inc. grants teachers permission to photocopy the plays from this book for classroom use. No other part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, write to Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.
Editor: Maria L. Chang Cover design by Ka-Yeon Kim
Cover photograph by Getty Images © Wilfried Krecichwost Interior design by Grafica, Inc.
Interior illustrations by George Ulrich ISBN-13: 978-0-439-64014-5
ISBN-10: 0-439-64014-8 Copyright © 2008 by Carol Pugliano-Martin
All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.
Table of Contents
Introduction . . . 4
tips for putting on the plays . . . 8
Extension Activities . . . 12
the Gods and Goddesses Bake-Off . . . 17
Pandora’s Box . . . 23
Echo and Narcissus . . . . 28
Demeter and Persephone . . . . 34
Orpheus and Eurydice . . . . 41
Athena and Arachne: How Spiders Came to Be . . . . 48
Atalanta and the Great Race . . . . 52
Daedalus and Icarus . . . 59
King Midas and the Golden Touch . . . . 64
Afew years ago, I taught a mythology unit to a class of third graders. The unit lasted for several months, and from beginning to end all of my students were thoroughly engaged. I was really amazed at how their enthusiasm for the unit never wavered. They actually hated to see it end! During the
unit, we performed some plays and, while we enjoyed those that we did, I wished there was another book of plays for us to do. Thus, the idea for this book was born.
Building Fluency Through Readers Theater
Plays may seem frivolous at first glance, but they actually perform an important role in the language arts curriculum. Readers Theater, in particular, has been proven time and again to help boost fluency and comprehension, particularly in struggling readers (Martinez, Roser, and Strecker, 1999; Keehn, 2003). Fluency is a reader’s ability to decode words quickly, accurately, and effortlessly. In its 2000 report, the National Reading Panel cited research that shows oral reading fluency is a critical factor in reading comprehension.
Picture a student who struggles reading a given text. As he stumbles to decode unfamiliar words, he puts much effort into trying to sound them out and
pronounce them. By the time he reaches the end of the sentence, he has probably forgotten what he read at the beginning. Not much comprehension going on there. Now picture a student who can read fluently. She sails through the text, easily recognizing words and phrases at first sight. Rather than spending energy trying to decipher the words, she directs all her energy toward the more important task of making sense of the text—in other words, comprehending it.
So how does Readers Theater help create fluent readers? It gives readers a
purpose, a reason to rehearse reading aloud with a focus on reading accurately as well as understanding and interpreting the text (Worthy and Broaddus, 2001). In
Readers Theater, students stand in front of an audience, usually their classmates, and read their parts directly from the script. There are hardly any costumes, props, or sceneries, so performers rely solely on their voices to bring the play to life. In order to have a successful performance, students need to “rehearse” or practice reading the script several times beforehand. And therein lies the key to fluency—repeated reading. This repeated reading practice increases fluency as well as comprehension, especially for struggling readers (Samuels, 1997). “With practice, the reader achieves fluency and can direct his or her attention toward making sense of the reading and away from the mechanics of decoding” (Rasinski, 2003).
The best part about Readers Theater is that it naturally motivates children to practice reading. When the purpose of reading is to perform in front of an audience, repeated reading becomes inherently interesting and engaging (Rasinski, 2003). Martinez, Roser, and Strecker (1999) studied two classrooms that used Readers Theater to increase children’s oral reading fluency. At the end of the ten-week program, nearly all of the children made significant reading gains compared to similar classrooms that didn’t participate in the program. One of the teachers, Ms. Carter, explained how Readers Theater helped her students: “The first is comprehension that results from having to become the characters and understand their feelings, and the second is the repetition and practice.”
Using Greek Myths in Readers Theater
In this book, you’ll find ten Readers Theater scripts based on favorite Greek myths. (I deliberately stayed away from the more violent myths, as I feel they take away from any message they might be trying to convey.) Some of the myths show the Greeks’ explanation for how something came to be; for example, the myth of Demeter and Persephone explains the changing seasons. Others teach a moral lesson. The story of Echo and Narcissus, for example, warns against vanity. Instead of narrators, the plays in this book include two Chorus parts. In Greek theater, the Chorus helped the story along by narrating, commenting on the action, and interacting with the characters in the play. The same is true with the choruses in these plays. These parts can be played by one or more students to give everyone a chance to be part of the play.
To get the most benefit from each play, try these steps for a successful Readers Theater performance:
1. Consider presenting two or three plays per week so every student is part of a “repertory group.” Introduce each new play on a Monday by reading it aloud to the class. This will help familiarize students with the story and characters. Be sure to read the different parts in such a way as to model good oral reading— an important way to build reading fluency in students (Rasinski, 2003). You may want to rehearse reading the play aloud to yourself beforehand, paying attention to phrasing, expression, and pacing.
2. After you finish reading the play, discuss the story with students. Go over the words in the glossary at the end of the play to ensure students understand unfamiliar words.
3. Hand out copies of the play to students. Allow students time to read over the script independently. In the meantime, decide how you want to group students, keeping in mind that “Readers Theater is an excellent activity for grouping students by interest rather than reading level” (Worthy and Broaddus, 2001). Consider giving each student two copies of the play—one to take home to
practice with his or her family and one to keep in school for in-class rehearsals. Tell students in each repertory group that they will be giving a Readers Theater performance of the play on Friday.
4. On Tuesday and Wednesday, allot about 30–45 minutes for students to practice reading the play with their groups. Instead of assigning roles right away,
encourage members of each group to switch roles at every reading of the play. This way, students get a feel for each character’s lines and can start thinking about which role they would like to play. Don’t worry about your more reticent students. When children read a part, they usually can step outside themselves and “become” a character. This helps alleviate the self-consciousness that can come with reading aloud in front of a group.
5. At the end of the session on Wednesday, assign roles so that at Thursday’s rehearsal, students read only their assigned parts. It is very important that students take parts in which they can be successful (Worthy and Broaddus, 2001). The parts in each play vary in terms of how many lines each character has. More fluent readers can tackle larger parts, while those still trying to master reading can participate in smaller roles. Often a struggling reader will get so excited about playing a certain part, he or she may be willing to try a larger part the next time around. The confidence that can spring from such accomplishment is extremely rewarding to both student and teacher. After you’ve assigned roles, show students how to find their character’s name on the script and highlight their lines so they can find their place easily.
6. On Thursday, allot about 30–45 minutes for students to rehearse their parts. Encourage them to read expressively and to prepare an entertaining presentation for their audience. If you want, allow children to prepare small props for their characters; for example, a simple crown for a king or queen. However, keep in mind that the main purpose of a Readers Theater is for students to use their voices to convey the story.
7. On Friday, set up the classroom to look like a theater or auditorium. Push the tables toward the back of the room and place chairs in rows, leaving room in front for the “stage.” Consider inviting other classes, the principal, and even parents to be part of the audience. Students are sure to be even more excited and motivated to do their best.
A Few Final Words
To supplement the scripts in this book, I’ve included tips for staging each play—in case your students’ enthusiasm persuades you to go beyond Readers Theater and create a full-stage production of the play. You’ll also find extension activities that cross other curriculum areas, such as science, math, and art.
However and whenever you use these plays, I hope you and your students will get as much out of reading and performing mythology plays as my former students did. It was an experience I hope they will never forget. I know I won’t.
Keehn, S. (2003). The effect of instruction and practice through Readers Theatre on young readers’ oral reading fluency. Reading Research and Instruction, 42(4), 40–61.
Martinez, M. G., Roser, N. L., & Strecker, S. K. (1999). “I never thought I could be a star”: A readers theater ticket to fluency. The Reading Teacher, 54(4), 326–335.
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of
scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health.
Samuels, S. J. (1997). The method of repeated readings. The Reading Teacher, 50(5), 376–381. Rasinski, T. V. (2003). The fluent reader. New York: Scholastic.
Worthy, J. & Broaddus, K. (2001). Fluency beyond the primary grades: From group performance to silent, independent reading. The Reading Teacher, 55(4), 334–343.
TIPS FOR PUTTING ON THE PLAYS
Readers Theater generally doesn’t require stage sets, props, or costumes.
However, if you would like to create a more elaborate production, here are a few suggestions:
The Gods and Goddesses Bake-Off
When the gods and goddesses are summoned to Zeus, each god and goddess will need his or her own throne. As they enter, have each character carry his or her own chair. They can either set the chairs in a row, with Zeus and Hera in the middle, or in a semicircle. It may be helpful and humorous to have the actors wear large name labels that read: “Hello, My name is ________.” For the cakes, you can have actors pantomime holding cakes. Or you can have each actor design his or her character’s cake, either drawing it on paper or constructing it from cardboard. For example, Poseidon’s cake can be in the shape of a fish or other sea creature, Dionysus’s can have a bottle of wine or some grapes on top, Demeter’s can have stalks of grain sticking out of it, and so on.
The scene where the Miseries come out of the box can be performed in the following way: Get a box large enough to conceal a student crouching behind it. If possible, get a box with a flap on top that Pandora can open to one side and leave open as each Misery pops out. When Pandora and Epimetheus bring the box home, have them place it near the edge of the “stage.” As the time comes for each Misery and Hope to come out of the box, have each actor come on stage one at a time and hide behind the box. One
by one they pop up from behind the box and step in front to introduce themselves. The actors can either exit right after saying their line
or wait until all have come out of the box and exit altogether. When Hope goes back in the box and as Pandora says good-bye, Pandora can close the flap of the box.
Echo and Narcissus
For the scene in which Narcissus gazes at himself in the pond, you might want to use a large mirror for the pond. If you can’t get a mirror, try wrapping aluminum foil or Mylar® around a large piece of cardboard. Decide how to
position the mirror so that the audience will be able to see Narcissus’s reflection. You (or another student) might have to raise the mirror at an angle when Narcissus sees himself, and then lay the mirror flat when he tries to grab and kiss the image, so that his reflection can no longer be seen.
Demeter and Persephone
Several times during this play, the venue changes from Earth to the Underworld. You may want to change the scenery a bit to indicate this change. One way to do this would be to hang a light or brightly
colored sheet behind the actors during the Earth scenes. Then change to a dark sheet during the Underworld scenes. Students may even want to paint the sheets with pictures to better show each place. For example, the Earth sheet could have flowers and a sun painted on it, and the Underworld could have creepy-looking ghosts, bare trees, rocks, and so on. Using clothespins, hang the sheets from a string that stretches across the stage area. An even simpler way of indicating scene changes would be to depict the two places on separate sheets of chart paper on a pad. Display the pad on an easel that’s either off to the side or in the middle of the stage. When it comes time to change scenery, someone can simply flip the pad over and back for quick and easy changes.
Orpheus and Eurydice
As the lyre is such an integral part of this play, consider making one to use as a prop. Look for pictures on the Internet for reference. For the three-headed dog, Cerberus, have those actors simply stand close together to indicate that they are one creature. Or you can create a costume that would enclose all three. A relatively easy way would be to cut three holes in a sheet and have the children put the sheet over their heads through the holes. You can paint the sheet to look like a hairy beast. If you choose to go this route, make sure that Cerberus does not have to move much as you’ll want to avoid the children falling as they walk closely together under the sheet.
Athena and Arachne: How Spiders Came to Be
Students can either pantomime holding up tapestries for this play or make actual “tapestries” beforehand. One way is to draw the “woven” scenes on poster board— Athena’s tapestry showing the “gods in all their glory” and Arachne’s tapestry, which shows the gods looking silly. Leave a blank spot on both tapestries for the objects that the two women show customers. As Athena “weaves” the bird, for example, she can tape a picture of a bird on the blank spot on her tapestry. Arachne can do the same when she weaves her flower. Have the actors hold up the bird and flower alone for the audience to see before taping each piece to the large tapestry, without the audience seeing the finished work. When they are finished, the audience will see the bird and the flower incorporated into the god scenes on the completed “tapestries.”
Atalanta and the Great Race
As you most likely won’t have much room for running, the scene where Atalanta races Hippomenes can best be staged by having them run in place side-by-side. (You can either have them face the audience as they’re “running” or have them placed diagonally so that the audience can see both characters). As Atalanta sprints ahead, she can simply move a bit ahead of Hippomenes even as they continue running in place. This will not only
solve the space problem, it will also ensure that the audience can hear their lines, since they’re not moving all around the stage. If you’re using actual apples for props, you might want to have
Hippomenes pantomime throwing them and then actually placing them on the ground near Atalanta. As she bends to pick up the apple at her feet, Hippomenes moves a bit ahead of Atalanta. If you’d rather not use props, simply have the actors pantomime the apples.
Daedalus and Icarus
The brief scene where Theseus is in the maze with the Minotaur can lend itself to some creative staging in your classroom. While Chorus 1 speaks the lines about Theseus trying to escape from the Minotaur, those two actors can wind their way through the rows of chairs in your classroom (or groups of chairs and desks, however your room is set up). This can give the audience a better sense of the maze than the traditional staging of actors performing up front.
King Midas and the Golden Touch
Toward the end of the play, Dionysus gives King Midas an amphora to fill with water and pour over everything he had turned to gold. An amphora (meaning “two-handled carrier” in Greek) was a pottery container used to store liquids like oil or wine. It usually had two
handles, a swollen belly, narrow neck, and a large mouth, and was made of terracotta, a reddish-brown clay, decorated with black, brown, and white art. The art often depicted aspects of everyday life or featured scenes of important figures glorifying the gods and goddesses.
To create this prop, you can simply draw and color one on paper or make a more realistic one from clay or papier-mâché. Encourage your class to decide on an appropriate scene to be painted on the amphora, perhaps something depicting Dionysus, since he presents the amphora to Midas.
The Trojan Horse
In the scene where the Greeks and Trojans go to war over Helen, it may be best to avoid prop swords and the like to ensure that no one gets hurt. Sometimes such props can also cause too much disruption in the play. One way to handle the war scene is to humorously have the actors pantomime boxing. There can be a lot of “fancy footwork,” ducking missed punches, running away, and so on. Remind students that there should be no contact between the actors as even fake punches can sometimes hurt.
the Gods and Goddesses Bake-Off
Now your class can eat like the gods and goddesses with this quick and easy ambrosia recipe, which serves six. (NOTE: Be
sure to check for student allergies first!) As a math challenge, have students calculate the necessary amounts needed to serve everyone in your class.
• 1 can (20 oz.) chunk or crushed pineapple in juice or syrup
• 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin orange segments
• 1 1/2 cup seedless grapes
• 1 cup miniature marshmallows
• 1 cup flaked coconut
• 1 cup walnuts or pecans
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 1 tablespoon sugar To Do:
1) Drain pineapple and mandarin oranges.
2) Combine pineapple, oranges, grapes, marshmallows, coconut, and nuts in large bowl.
3) Mix sour cream and sugar together in a small bowl.
4) Stir the sour cream–sugar mixture into the fruit mixture.
5) Chill 1 to 2 hours and dig in!
Invite students to write a short story from the point of view of one of the Miseries that Pandora let out of the box. What happened to this escapee after being freed? Where did it go? What did it do? Who did it affect? As an extension, encourage students to add Hope to their stories. What part can Hope play in order to help humans cope with this particular Misery? Invite students to share their stories with the class. You may even challenge them to turn their stories into Readers Theater plays, using themselves and/or other students as the characters to act out their stories.
Echo and Narcissus
Students are sure to be excited when they see the flower named after the character in this myth. Any time of year, you can force narcissus bulbs to grow in your classroom. You can even turn this flower-growing activity into a science experiment!
• narcissus bulbs
• a shallow dish or bowl
• pebbles, gravel, or sand
• potting soil To Do:
Add some gravel or sand to the shallow dish. Place two bulbs’ roots (pointy side up) in the gravel. Add water. Next, put some potting soil in the flowerpot. Plant two more bulbs in the soil, not too deep, but deep enough to cover the bulbs. Water occasionally. Observe the growth over the next several weeks. In which type of container/environment did the bulbs grow best? You can also chart/graph the growth as it occurs. Keep watering the flowers and enjoy your narcissus blooms!
Demeter and Persephone
Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds and that sealed her fate. Explain to students that a pomegranate is a fruit, and that one way to tell if a particular produce is a fruit is if it has seeds. Bring in a variety of
produce items, such as orange, tomato, bell pepper, carrot, asparagus, corn, and so on. Hold up the orange and ask students: “Is this a fruit?” Have students raise their hands if they think the orange is a fruit. Then hold up something a bit less obvious, like a tomato or a pepper. Ask them to vote on that as well. Then divide the class into small groups and distribute a variety of produce to each group. Encourage the groups to examine each item by either breaking it apart or cutting it open with a plastic knife and have them then determine which ones are fruits. Invite the groups to present their findings to the rest of the class. Did any of their perceptions
change due to their observations? Some other produce that can make for interesting debates are peas, corn, broccoli, and asparagus.
Orpheus and Eurydice
The story of Orpheus and Eurydice was made into an opera in the 1700s with music by Christoph Willibald Gluck. You may want to borrow a copy of the opera from the library as an introduction to this activity. (The Italian title is Orfeo ed
Euridice.) After students have listened for a bit, invite them to write their own songs for their own opera about the myth. Start by listing
the different scenes from the story that would make good songs. Some examples are when Orpheus finds out
about what happened to Eurydice, when Orpheus is pleading with Hades to let Eurydice come home with him, and when Orpheus looks back to Eurydice and
loses her forever. Then divide the class into groups, one for each scene you have written on the board.
Assign each group a scene and invite students to write a song for their scene. Encourage the groups to put their songs to music and perform for the class. You can put them all together and tell the entire story through song, just like a real opera!
Athena and Arachne
Are your students brave enough to challenge Athena with their own weaving? They can test their skills with this simple weaving activity.
• shirt cardboard or a placemat-sized piece of cardboard (one for each child)
• a variety of colorful yarn
• scissors To Do:
1) Cut slits along the top and bottom edges of the cardboard, about 1/4 inch apart. (Make sure the top and bottom of the cardboard
are the same length.) Use a ruler and pencil to help you measure even segments. The closer the slits are to each other, the tighter the weave will be.
2) To make a loom, wrap the twine lengthwise between the slits on the cardboard. Start at one corner of the cardboard and thread the twine up and around each slit. When you reach the end of the cardboard, cut the twine and fasten in place.
3) Students can now weave yarn over and under the twine. They can either use one color of yarn or experiment with using different colors to create designs. As students weave, make sure they push the rows of yarn together and leave no space in between.
4) When the cardboard is covered with their weaving, tie off the ends of the yarn and the twine and remove the cardboard.
Atalanta and the great race
Atalanta was tricked into losing the race by some golden apples. Apples are the fruit part of the apple tree, the part we eat. We eat many other fruits, but we also eat other parts of plants as well. Conduct a plant guessing game with your class. The object is to come up with as many foods as possible that are certain parts of a plant. On the board or on chart paper, make a chart with six columns. Label the columns “Roots,” “Seeds,” “Fruits,” “Flowers,” “Leaves,” and “Stems.” Invite students to come up with as many edible plants as they can for each column. Here are some examples of each:
carrots lima beans tomatoes broccoli kale celery beets peas apples cauliflower lettuce rhubarb turnips green beans cucumbers squash
blossoms spinach asparagus rutabagas sunflower seeds strawberries nasturtiums cabbage
black-eyed peas blueberries collards pinto beans mustard
Daedalus and Icarus
Daedalus created wings that helped both him and Icarus fly out of the tower. Invite your class to be as inventive as Daedalus and create their own version of Daedalus’s wings—paper airplanes. Have them experiment with different styles and materials. Size, shape, and type of paper are just some of the variables that could be altered. Then have students take their planes on some test runs. Students can make a chart listing each plane, then measure and record the length and/or duration of each one’s flight. What, if anything, can students deduce from this experiment? Did one type of paper work better than another? Did smaller planes fly better than larger ones or vice versa?
King Midas and the Golden Touch
Midas was given one wish, and he wished for gold. Invite students to write about what they would most wish for, given the opportunity. Have them explain why they desire that particular thing, and then have them think about what the consequences might be if their wish were granted. As they have learned from the story, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
The Trojan Horse
Your class may not be able to build a giant Trojan Horse, but they can build other sculptures—from toothpicks and gumdrops or marshmallows! This activity is creative fun for kids of all ages, and the possibilities are endless. Simply provide students with lots of toothpicks and gumdrops or marshmallows and let their imaginations run wild. Students may want to attempt to make a horse sculpture, but any three-dimensional structure is fine. You may want to use slightly stale gumdrops or marshmallows because they get firmer as they get older and are better at holding up a sculpture. This may also discourage students from eating the materials!
CharactersCHORUS 1 CHORUS 2 ZEUS (ZOOS) HERA (HEER-uh) POSEIDON (poh-SY-duhn) HADES (HAY-deez) DEMETER (di-MEE-tuhr) HESTIA (HES-tee-uh) HEBE (HEE-bee) APOLLO (uh-PAH-loh) ARTEMIS (AR-tuh-mis) ATHENA (uh-THEE-nuh) HEPHAESTUS (heh-FEHS-tus) APHRODITE (af-reh-DY-tee) HERMES (HER-meez) ARES (AIR-eez) DIONYSUS (dy-uh-NY-sus)
The Gods and Goddesses
Chorus 1: High above the clouds on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, lived the gods and goddesses who controlled all that happened on Earth.
Chorus 2: Leader of them all was Zeus, king of the gods and goddesses. He sat upon his throne with his wife, Hera, at his side.
Chorus 1: They were dining on ambrosia, the food of the gods.
Chorus 2: And washing it down with nectar, the drink of the gods.
Zeus: You know, Hera, I’ve been thinking.
Hera: What is it, dear?
Zeus: I’m tired of eating ambrosia and drinking nectar.
Zeus: I’m serious. Day in and day out, it’s always the same thing. Ambrosia and nectar, ambrosia and nectar. It’s time for a change.
Hera: What do you suggest, dear?
Zeus: A gods and goddesses bake-off!
Hera: Um, that’s fine, dear, but there’s one problem.
Zeus: What’s that?
Hera: They can change the seasons, calm the seas, and send people to the underworld, but there’s one thing the gods and goddesses can’t do. They can’t bake.
Zeus: Well, they’ve never had much of a chance, have they? Let’s give it a try.
Chorus 1: So Zeus summoned all of the gods and goddesses to his palace.
Chorus 2: He instructed them all to bring a cake that they baked themselves.
Zeus: Welcome, all! I hope you all had fun baking. I’m looking forward to sampling your creations. I, too, have baked, and I know you will enjoy my contribution. Let’s start with mine, of course. Wheel it out, servants!
Hera: Um, honey. It’s gigantic.
Zeus: Well, of course. What else would you expect from the king of the gods!
Zeus: Have some? Oh, no! You must not cut it. It will be ruined!
Hera: Well, we’ve got to eat something, but since I am the goddess of marriage, I will not fight with you.
Zeus: Poseidon, what have you brought?
Poseidon: Here is my creation, brother.
Zeus: Hmm, looks good. Now for a taste. (He cuts a piece and takes a bite.) Acch! It’s too watery!
Poseidon: Of course it’s watery! I’m the god of the sea!
Zeus: Next, my brother Hades. What have you brought?
Hades: Here! Great, huh?
Zeus: Well, it’s black. Interesting for a cake. Let me taste. (He takes a bite.) Blech! This is burnt!
Hades: What do you expect from the god of the underworld?
Zeus: Quick, Hebe, my daughter. You are the cupbearer to the gods. Bring me a drink! Nectar!
Hebe: You have banned nectar, Father. Here is some lemonade.
Zeus: Lemonade. Interesting. Sweet. Tart. Delicious. Now if only I had some good cake. Let’s try another.
Demeter: Sample mine, brother. It’s full of healthy grains and ripe fruits.
Zeus: Yuck! It’s too, too . . . good for me. I don’t like my cakes to be so healthy, even though you are the goddess of the harvest.
Hestia: (Comforting Demeter) Come, sister. I have a nice fire going in the fireplace. You can relax there.
Demeter: I can always count on you, Hestia. You truly are the goddess of the hearth and home.
Zeus: Apollo, my son! This party needs to be livened up. Show us why you are the god of music. Play us a tune!
Apollo: Of course, Father. How about this jaunty number I wrote myself? (Pretends to play a lyre)
Zeus: (Sounding pleased) Lovely! Artemis, my daughter, have you brought a cake?
Artemis: Come on, Dad, me? Bake? I’m the goddess of hunting, remember?
Zeus: Yes, yes. I don’t know why you won’t find a nice young god and settle down.
Artemis: Well, that wouldn’t seem right since I’m also the goddess of unmarried girls.
Zeus: Never mind. Where’s my favorite daughter? Where’s Athena?
Athena: Here I am, Father.
Zeus: And what have you baked for me?
Athena: Well, I didn’t bake. I figured there would be many cakes and not enough pottery plates, so I made these dishes for the occasion.
Zeus: My dear. No wonder you are both the goddess of wisdom and arts and crafts. You are smart as well as talented.
Ares: (Annoyed) Oh, please. You said bake, not make pottery!
Zeus: Ares, my son, why must you always start a fight?
Ares: I am the god of war. What do you expect?
Aphrodite: Why must we fight? Love is all we need.
Hephaestus: (Lovingly, to Aphrodite) Ah, that’s why I married you, Aphrodite, you
goddess of love, you. Here is my cake, Father.
Zeus: Um . . . son . . . Hephaestus . . . it’s on fire.
Hephaestus: Of course. I’m the god of fire. I must express myself in the only way
I know how.
Hephaestus: Thanks, babe.
Hermes: (Sounding out of breath) Hi, Pop. Sorry I’m late. I just flew in. Lots of messages to deliver for you, you know? Gotta go now and watch over the shepherds, merchants, travelers, and, yes, even thieves. Why on earth am I the god of so many things?
Zeus: Hello and good-bye, Hermes. Okay, let’s see. That leaves only
Dionysus. Please tell me you brought a cake, my son. I’m very hungry.
Dionysus: Here it is, Father.
Zeus: Looks good. But let’s give it a taste. (Hiccups) This cake is filled with wine!
Dionysus: Sorry. It’s one of the only ingredients I had. As the god of wine, I’ve got bottles of it coming out my ears.
Zeus: (Wearily) Yes, I know. Well, after this bake-off of the gods and goddesses, I guess there’s only one thing left to say.
Hera: What’s that, dear?
Zeus: Pass the ambrosia!
Chorus 1: Zeus, king of the gods, was angry with Prometheus for giving the gift of fire to the mortals.
Chorus 2: He was also angry with the mortals for taking the gift. He would punish Prometheus and the mortals.
Chorus 1: Epimetheus, Prometheus’s brother, would help him punish the mortals, although Epimetheus didn’t know it.
Chorus 2: One day, Zeus called the brothers to him. CHORUS 1 CHORUS 2 ZEUS (ZOOS) PROMETHEUS (pro-MEE-thee-us) EPIMETHEUS (ep-uh-MEE-thee-us) APHRODITE (af-reh-DY-tee) HERMES (HER-meez) APOLLO (uh-PAH-loh) PANDORA (pan-DOR-ah) DISEASE CRUELTY PAIN OLD AGE DISAPPOINTMENT HATE JEALOUSY WAR DEATH HOPE
Zeus: Come here, my friends.
Epimetheus: Here we are.
Prometheus: What is it, Zeus?
Zeus: Well, first of all, Prometheus. You gave the gift of fire to the mortals. I am very angry about that. Such a wonderful thing should be only for gods like us, not lowly mortals.
Prometheus: Sorry, Zeus.
Zeus: You will be severely punished for what you’ve done. I’ll deal with you later. Now Epimetheus.
Epimetheus: Y-y-yes, Zeus.
Zeus: To you, I have a gift. A wife! I made her myself with some help from the other gods.
Epimetheus: Great! What is she like?
Zeus: See for yourself. Gods, bring in Pandora!
Aphrodite: Here she is. I have given her beauty so she can please your eyes.
hermes: I have given her a clever tongue so she can amuse you.
Apollo: I have given her the gift of music so she can entertain you.
Chorus 1: Zeus had given her the gift of curiosity.
Chorus 2: But he didn’t mention that to Epimetheus.
Epimetheus: Wow, she’s wonderful. Thank you, Zeus.
Prometheus: No fair!
Zeus: (To Prometheus) Never mind, you. (To Epimetheus and Pandora) Go and live happily together. Oh, yes, take this box as a wedding gift. (Zeus hands Epimetheus a box.) But you must never, ever open it.
Chorus 1: So Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock, while Epimetheus went home with his new wife.
Chorus 2: Little did they know, Zeus’s plan to punish the mortals was about to unfold.
Pandora: Okay, Epi, we’re in our own home now. Let’s see what’s in the box.
Epimetheus: Oh, no, Pandora. I promised Zeus we wouldn’t.
Pandora: You are a married god now. You don’t have to listen to Zeus.
Epimetheus: Yes, I do, and you should too. He is a very powerful god—the most powerful. If he says don’t open the box, you don’t open the box, and that’s that. (He leaves.)
Pandora: Hmm . . . I didn’t promise anything. But maybe Epimetheus is right. Still, what could happen? It seems like a harmless box. There are probably some fine dishes or jewels in it. I must find out! No, I shouldn’t. But it’s my wedding present too. I will!
Chorus 1: Don’t do it, Pandora!
Chorus 2: Listen to your husband and to almighty Zeus.
Pandora: I don’t have to listen to anyone! Go away!
Chorus 1 & 2: You’ll be sorry!
Chorus 1: Pandora took a little gold key and opened the box a crack.
Pandora: (Opening the box) Just a little peek . . .
Chorus 2: Suddenly, out popped the world’s Miseries, ready to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting mortals!
Disease: Ah-hah! You foolish girl! You have let us out!
Pandora: Who are you?
Disease: I am Disease. Now man shall get sick.
Pain: I am Pain. Man shall now hurt.
Old Age: I am Old Age. Pretty self-explanatory.
Disappointment: I’m Disappointment. Now man shall feel let down.
Hate: I’m Hate. Man will now dislike others.
Jealousy: I am Jealousy. Man will now yearn for the things others have.
War: I’m War. Man will not live in peace.
Death: And I am Death. Man will not live forever!
Pandora: What have I done?
Hope: (Sweetly, peeking out from the box) You have played out Zeus’s punishment to man for accepting Prometheus’s gift of fire. These Miseries will go out among man and cause them much suffering.
Pandora: Well, who are you? You don’t seem very miserable.
Hope: I am Hope. Keep me in the box. The Miseries will go out among the mortals. But I will remain so that humans will always have me in spite of all the evils that have gone out among them. I will help them bear the pain, but only if I remain safe inside this box.
Pandora: Oh. Okay. Bye-bye now.
Chorus 1: And so Pandora shut the box, leaving Hope inside to help man bear the new Miseries.
Chorus 2: And to this day, when someone “opens Pandora’s box,” he or she causes trouble.
Pandora: Some wedding gift! I really wanted a toaster!
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Chorus 1: Zeus, the mightiest of the gods, was married to Hera, the goddess of marriage.
Chorus 2: Zeus, being a powerful god, was popular with the ladies. He liked to flirt. As you will see, Hera will have none of it.
Zeus: Ah, what a beautiful day! I think I’ll pop on down to Earth and walk in the woods a bit.
CHORUS 1 CHORUS 2 ZEUS (ZOOS) HERA (HEER-uh) NYMPH 1 (NIMF) NYMPH 2 ECHO (ECK-oh) NARCISSUS (nar-SIS-us)
Hera: A walk in the woods, huh? Are you sure you’re not going down there to flirt with the nymphs?
Zeus: Flirt? Nymphs? Me? Don’t be silly. Why would I flirt with nymphs when I have a beautiful wife like you?
Hera: Well, perhaps you’re right. Okay, go for your walk. Be home for dinner.
Zeus: Ta-ta, my dear!
Chorus 1: Hera, what is this?
Chorus 2: Are you really going to believe Zeus’s story?
Hera: No way. He must be kidding. I trust him about as far as I can throw him, and that isn’t far. Oh, well. It’s nothing that a little careful spying won’t take care of.
Chorus 1: Now that sounds more like our Hera!
Chorus 2: Meanwhile, on Earth, three nymphs are in a meadow.
Nymph 1: What a beautiful day for picking flowers!
Nymph 2: It’s awesome!
Echo: (Speaking very quickly) Well, the weather report showed a cold front moving in. Soon there will be clouds and pretty heavy winds. Maybe even some rain. I really don’t mind the rain, though. It does help these beautiful flowers grow. And I love flowers. I think my favorite is the violet. However, I’m also quite fond of the evening primrose.
Nymph 1: Echo, slow down.
Nymph 2: You sure love to talk!
Zeus: Ladies, ladies, good morning! How are you?
Nymph 1: (Giggling) Oh, hello, Zeus.
Nymph 2: (In a flirty tone of voice) It’s so nice to see you.
Zeus: Oh, no! My wife! Echo, be a dear. Distract Hera while my friends here and I make a quick get away. Thanks, love!
Chorus 1: Echo has a job to do.
Chorus 2: She must distract Hera with her gift of gab.
Chorus 1: Will Hera fall for it?
Chorus 2: (To Chorus 1) Come now. You know her better than that!
Hera: I was sure I heard Zeus’s voice. And some high-pitched giggling. That can only mean one thing. Now where are they?
Echo: Good morning, Hera.
Hera: Oh, hello, Echo. Have you seen my husband?
Echo: Seen? Hmm . . . Well, I’m not sure I would trust my eyes right now. You see, this early spring pollen really makes my eyes water and I can’t see very well with my eyes all teared-up. I never used to suffer from allergies, but now it’s sneeze, sneeze, sneeze, all the time.
Hera: Hush, girl. I’m sure I heard him, and I think you know where he is. Now tell me!
Echo: Well, you know sounds can be deceiving. Once I thought I heard a Cyclops coming toward me. I was sure of it. I panicked and hid, shaking all the while. Turned out it was just a gentle deer walking among the leaves. And there I was shaking in my sandals. By the way, those are lovely sandals you’re wearing. Where did you get them?
Hera: Enough! I’m sure he got away by now, thanks to your chatter. From now on you will be almost silent. You will only be able to speak the last words someone else says!
Echo: Else says. (Gasps as Hera storms off)
Chorus 1: Sorry, Echo.
Chorus 2: We thought you knew better.
Chorus 2: A man who is his own best friend.
Narcissus: I love me. It’s me I love.
My beauty comes from The gods above.
Echo: (From her hiding place) Gods above.
Narcissus: Who’s there?
Echo: Who’s there?
Narcissus: Come out!
Echo: Come out!
Narcissus: Oh, so you’re playing a joke on me! Well, I won’t have it! Show yourself this instant!
Echo: (Coming out of hiding) This instant.
Narcissus: Silly girl. I suppose you are so awestruck by my beauty that you have lost the ability to speak properly. Surely you love me.
Echo: Love me.
Narcissus: Love you? Never. No one is good enough for me. How dare you love me.
Echo: (Holding out her arms toward Narcissus) Love me! Love me!
Narcissus: Ahhh!!!!! (Runs away)
Echo: (Quietly) Ahhh!
Chorus 1: And so Narcissus rejects Echo . . .
Chorus 2: As he has done to so many nymphs before.
Narcissus: Imagine that girl thinking I could love her. Hah! She’s just like all the rest. Oh, well. Who can blame them? I am quite the dreamboat. And speaking of boat, here’s a delightful pond. I think I’ll have a drink.
Chorus 1: Narcissus bends down to drink from the pond. Echo sees Narcissus and hides so she can watch him.
Narcissus: (Seeing his reflection in the pond) Well, well, what do we have here? Hello, my lovely. (He pauses.) Oh, you’re shy. How charming. You certainly are beautiful. (He pauses again.) Oh, well, no need to speak. I’m happy just to lie here and gaze upon you. Hmm . . . perhaps just one small kiss as well . . .
Chorus 2: Silly Narcissus bends toward the water to kiss his reflection. But as soon as he touches the water his reflection disappears.
Narcissus: Oh, no! Where did you go? Oh, I have frightened you away. Please come back! (He waits.) Oh, thank goodness, there you are. I’ll behave and just look at you.
Chorus 1: Narcissus gazes lovingly at his reflection.
Narcissus: I can’t stand it. I must embrace you!
Chorus 2: Narcissus grabs at the water, and his reflection disappears altogether.
Narcissus: You’re gone! Oh, I can’t live without you! I won’t! Good-bye, cruel world!
Echo: (Noticeably upset) Cruel world.
Chorus 1: (to Narcissus) Narcissus? Narcissus? (To audience) He has died of love for himself!
Chorus 2: Look! Where he lay there is now a flower. It shall be called a narcissus.
Chorus 1: And what became of Echo? She fled to a cave and also perished from love for Narcissus.
Chorus 2: If you are ever near that cave, you will hear her speak the last words anyone says.
Chorus 1: Look, here come Zeus and the nymphs!
Nymph 1: (Looking at the narcissus flower) Hey, cool flower!
Zeus: Of course, my pet.
Chorus 2: Watch it, Zeus! Here comes Hera!
Hera: (Angrily) Ah-hah!
Zeus: (Panicked) Hera! So . . . so . . . nice to . . . Lovely day . . . um . . . Let’s get out of here! (Runs off with the Nymphs)
Hera: (To audience, as she goes after Zeus and the Nymphs) Gods!
Chorus 1: Let’s go!
Chorus 2: Yeah, we don’t want to miss this!
THE END]\]bYN_' YVXRQ \_ R[W\fRQ Of ZN[f ]R\]YR ÁV_a' a\ ]YNf Na ORV[T V[ Y\cR dVaU `\ZR\[R [fZ]U`' V[ N[PVR[a 4_RRX N[Q ?\ZN[ `a\_VR` ORNbaVSbY SRZNYR `]V_Va` \_ T\QQR``R` dU\ YVcRQ V[ N S\_R`a ZRNQ\d \_ `a_RNZ P\YQ S_\[a' N Z\cRZR[a \S P\YQ NV_ dUVPU PNb`R` N PUN[TR V[ aUR dRNaUR_ QV`a_NPa' a\ dRNXR[ `\ZR\[R¹` P\[PR[a_NaV\[ \[ dUNa aURf N_R Q\V[T TNO' a\ PUNa \_ a\ T\``V] ]\YYR[' aV[f fRYY\d T_NV[` ]_\QbPRQ V[ Á\dR_` @\ZR ]R\]YR N_R NYYR_TVP a\ ]\YYR[ QRPRVcV[T' UNcV[T aUR NOVYVaf a\ a_VPX f\b V[a\ ORYVRcV[T `\ZRaUV[T aUNa V` [\a a_bR ]N[VPXRQ' `bQQR[Yf SRYa T_RNa aR__\_ \_ S_VTUa NdR`a_bPX' `bQQR[Yf UVa dVaU N SRRYV[T \S NQZV_NaV\[ N[Q _R`]RPa ]\``VOYf ZVeRQ dVaU N YVaaYR SRN_ ]R_V`URQ' QVRQ \_ dN` QR`a_\fRQ
Chorus 1: You know how in some places, it is cold for part of the year and warm for the other part?
Chorus 2: Well, there’s a reason for that. Hear now the story of Demeter and Persephone.
Chorus 1: One day, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was in the fields with her daughter, Persephone.
Chorus 2: Persephone was a beautiful young girl, and Demeter worshipped the ground she walked on.
DEMETER: Come along, my darling girl. We must go home now.
PersephoneCHORUS 1 CHORUS 2 DEMETER (di-MEE-tuhr) PERSEPHONE (per-SEF-uh-nee) HADES (HAY-deez) ZEUS (ZOOS) HECATE (HECK-uh-tee) HELIOS (HEE-lee-us)
Persephone: Oh, Mother, not now. Just a few more minutes. There are so many beautiful flowers to pick.
Demeter: My sweet, wonderful child, all right. I am going to sit under this tree for a while. Go and find some flowers that are as beautiful as you are, if that’s possible.
Persephone: Oh, Mom. Give it a rest.
DEMETER: Such a sweet girl.
Chorus 1: Meanwhile, down in the Underworld, Hades, the god of that dark place, was unhappy.
Chorus 2: He was being visited by his brother Zeus, the king of the gods.
Hades: It’s so dark down here. Dark, dreary, dull. The only thing that might brighten it up a bit is a beautiful queen.
ZEUS: Yes, my brother. But, no offense, what woman would marry you?
Hades: Hey, listen. I have my own place, my own chariot, and I’m a king. What more could any woman want?
ZEUS: Hmm. You have a point. Well, do you have anyone in mind?
HADES: As a matter of fact, I do. Lovely Persephone.
Zeus: Demeter’s beloved daughter? There’s no way. I cannot allow it. Besides, Demeter would never let her go.
Hades: I know. That is why I have a plan.
Chorus 1: So Hades told Zeus his plan to steal Persephone.
Chorus 2: Zeus, being a loyal brother, did nothing to stand in the way of Hades’ plot.
Chorus 1: Back on Earth, Persephone found a flower that Hades had placed in the field.
Persephone: Ooooh! Look at that narcissus! I’ve never seen one that was this dark red color. I must have it.
Chorus 2: As Persephone bent to pick the flower, Hades arrived in his chariot and swept Persephone away.
HADES: You’re mine! All mine!!
Persephone: Help me! Mother!
Chorus 1: But Demeter had fallen asleep under the tree and could not hear the cries of her daughter. Soon, she woke up.
Demeter: Persephone? Where are you, my precious child? Oh, these young girls, they are such rebels. Persephone? Darling girl?
Chorus 2: Demeter ran into Hecate, the moon god, who was snoozing in the field.
DEMETER: Hecate, have you seen Persephone?
Hecate: I have not. It is day, and I was asleep.
DEMETER: Oh, what good are you? I must find my daughter!
Hecate: Why don’t you ask Helios, the sun god. He sees everything in the day.
DEMETER: Good idea. I take back what I said earlier.
Hecate: No problem.
Chorus 1: Demeter went to see Helios.
Helios: Yes, I have seen Persephone. But you will not like what I have to say.
DEMETER: Say it, Sunny. I must have my daughter back!
Helios: Hades has taken her to the Underworld to be his queen.
DEMETER: What? How could this happen? Who would allow it?
Chorus 2: Meanwhile, back in the Underworld, Hades was happy, but Persephone was miserable.
HADES: Ah, you sure have brightened up the place with your beauty.
Persephone: Get me out of here!
Hades: Sure, it’s dark. There are the souls of the dead roaming around. But you’ll get used to it.
Persephone: Never! I must get back to my mother.
Hades: How about a little snack? You must be hungry.
Persephone: Save it, buddy. I won’t eat your food.
Chorus 1: Demeter went to see Zeus. He admitted that he did not stand in the way of Hades’ plan to abduct Persephone.
Demeter: You what?
Zeus: Well, he’s not so bad, is he? He’s a powerful man, successful.
Demeter: How could you allow it?
Zeus: Look, he’s my brother. He was lonely. He was sad.
Demeter: Well, you are going to be sad when you hear what I’m about to say. As long as my daughter is down there, nothing will grow here on Earth.
Zeus: Well, that won’t affect me. I’m a god and don’t eat mortal food.
Demeter: Yes, but who worships you? The mortals! If they starve, there will be no one to praise and honor you.
Zeus: What? No one to glorify the name of Zeus?! I can’t have that! I must be glorified!
Demeter: I knew you’d see my point.
Zeus: Okay. I’ll return your daughter to you. I just hope she hasn’t eaten anything down there.
Demeter: My girl knows better than that!
Zeus: We’ll see.
Chorus 2: But Persephone did not know that whoever eats food from the Underworld may never leave.
Chorus 1: Hades was trying his best to get Persephone to eat.
Hades: (Holding out a pomegranate) Just a tiny morsel, my dear. To keep up your strength.
Persephone: Well, maybe just a few of these juicy pomegranate seeds. What harm could they do?
Chorus 2: Persephone, no!
Chorus 1: Don’t eat them!
Persephone: Hey, who asked you? You’re as bad as my mother.
Chorus 2: Suit yourself.
Persephone: I will.
Chorus 1 & 2: Hmph!
Chorus 1 & 2: Go ahead and be foolish.
Persephone: I know you are, but what am I?
HADES: Oh, will you all stop it?! Here, my dear.
Persephone: (Eating some seeds) Juicy!
Hades: Ah-hah! Now you can never leave me. You have eaten food from the Underworld!
Persephone: That was a dirty trick!
Demeter: My baby!
Zeus: Hand her over, Hades.
Hades: Wait a minute. You said it was okay.
Zeus: Well, I changed my mind. The king of the gods can do that, you know.
Hades: Well, you are too late. Persephone has eaten.
Demeter: Persephone, how could you?
Persephone: Oh, Mother, lay off. I was so hungry and I just had six tiny, little pomegranate seeds.
Demeter: Of course, my precious. Why am I criticizing the most wonderful thing in my life? Oh, Zeus, is there nothing you can do?
Zeus: Six tiny seeds hardly seems to warrant staying down here for eternity. How about this? Since Persephone ate only six seeds, she will stay down here for six months of the year. The other six can be spent above with Demeter.
Hades: Well, I guess six months is better than none at all.
Demeter: True. But for the six months that my daughter is away, nothing shall grow on Earth.
Demeter: Let me finish. I will show the mortals how to harvest food and save it for the months Persephone is here. I think I deserve a break as well. I will rest during that time. Then I will rejoice with a bountiful growing season for the return of my beloved Persephone.
Persephone: Do I have any say in this?
and Demeter: NO!
Chorus 2: And so it was then, and so it is now.
Demeter: And remember, Mommy loves you!
Persephone: Can it, Mother!
Demeter: Yes, my sweet.
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Orpheus and Eurydice
Chorus 1: It is said that to trust is one of the most difficult things a mortal can do.
Chorus 2: And few people know that more than Orpheus, whose lack of trust cost him love.
Orpheus: Father, I have fallen in love! I wish to be married! She’s the most wonderful woman, well, nymph, in the world. Her name is Eurydice.
Apollo: Eurydice. Ah yes, I know of her. She certainly is lovely. I give you my permission to marry her.
Chorus 1: And so Orpheus and Eurydice were married.
Chorus 2: Never before was there a happier couple.
Eurydice: Orpheus, please play for me on your lyre. I’ve never heard such beautiful music.
Orpheus: And I’ve never felt more like playing. Being with you makes my music sound better. CHORUS 1 CHORUS 2 ORPHEUS (OR-fee-us) APOLLO (uh-PAH-loh) EURYDICE (yu-RID-uh-see) ARISTAEUS (ar-ee-STEE-us) CHARON (KAR-on) CERBERUS 1 (SER-ber-us) CERBERUS 2 CERBERUS 3 HADES (HAY-deez) PERSEPHONE (per-SEF-uh-nee)
Chorus 1: Orpheus was the finest musician around.
Chorus 2: His music charmed savage beasts and made all those around him feel happy and peaceful.
Eurydice: My love, while you are playing, I think I will pick some flowers up on that hill. Your music will follow me and keep me company as I gather some blossoms.
Orpheus: I will play, my sweet. And I will eagerly await your return.
Chorus 1: So, Eurydice went to pick flowers. As she strolled through the field, she was comforted by the sounds of Orpheus’s lyre.
Chorus 2: But Aristaeus, a hunter, spied Eurydice walking and pursued her.
Aristaeus: Why pick flowers when you are more lovely than any flower could ever be?
Eurydice: Leave me alone, Aristaeus. I am wed to Orpheus and belong only to him.
Aristaeus: That puny musician! I am a hunter. I can provide for you. Meat sustains a person more than music.
Eurydice: I said, leave me alone!
Aristaeus: I will not!
Chorus 1: And with that, Aristaeus began chasing Eurydice through the woods. He was a hunter and was very swift, but eventually Eurydice was able to get away from him.
Chorus 2: But alas, Eurydice was so panicked that she was not watching where she was going. She stepped on a viper whose bite filled her with poison, and she died. The last sound she heard was Orpheus’s lyre singing through the trees as she traveled down to the Underworld.
Orpheus: Where is my Eurydice? She’s been gone such a long time.
Chorus 2: A viper has taken her from you.
Orpheus: No, not my beloved Eurydice! I won’t allow it! I must get her back. Father!
Apollo: I’m afraid there’s nothing that can be done, my son. The dead cannot return to the land of the living. I’m sorry.
Orpheus: I will not accept it. I am going to her!
Apollo: Orpheus, no!
Chorus 1: But it was too late. Nothing would keep Orpheus from his Eurydice.
Chorus 2: With lyre in hand, he traveled down to the Underworld and reached the River Styx, which separated the land of the living from the land of the dead. There he met Charon, ferryman to the dead.
Orpheus: Charon, row me across. I must get my Eurydice back!
Charon: You must be kidding. You know I transport only the dead to the other side. In fact, wasn’t that your wife I just rowed across?
Orpheus: You’ve seen my Eurydice! Take me to her, Charon. I must see her!
Charon: Sorry, pal. Until you take your last breath, you won’t be riding in my boat.
Chorus 1: Orpheus was desperate. He had to get to Eurydice. Suddenly he had an idea.
Chorus 2: He took out his lyre and began to play the most beautiful music Charon had ever heard. It moved him to tears with its loveliness.
Charon: (Visibly moved) Oh, all right. Come aboard. I’ll take you across.
Chorus 1: So Charon rowed Orpheus across the River Styx to the land of the dead.
Chorus 2: When they reached the other side, they were greeted by Cerberus, the three-headed dog.
Cerberus 2: a- . . .
Cerberus 3: way!
Charon: It’s Cerberus, Hades’ three-headed dog. I rowed you across, but he’ll never let you in. He’s fierce, I tell you!
Cerberus 1: Leave . . .
Cerberus 2: this . . .
Cerberus 3: place!
Chorus 1: Again, Orpheus took up his lyre and began to play. Before long, the dog was laying at Orpheus’s feet getting a belly rub.
Orpheus: There now, good boy, uh, boys. Anyway, see ya!
Hades: I smell a living man here in the Underworld! Who dares to enter?
Orpheus: It is I, Orpheus, and I’ve come to take Eurydice home with me.
Hades: Home? Hah! She is home. This is now her home, Orpheus.
Orpheus: No, she was taken too soon. I must have her back. She’ll come to you eventually, but not now!
Chorus 2: Persephone knew what Orpheus was going through. She had to live half the year in the Underworld. For the other half, she could stay in the land of the living with her mother, Demeter.
Chorus 1: Persephone, can’t you help on Orpheus’s behalf?
Persephone: Hades, maybe you can reconsider. I know how painful it is to be taken
from those you love. I miss my mother terribly when I am down here for half the year.
Hades: I won’t. She died, and she’s here now. And that’s that.
Chorus 2: Once again, Orpheus used the only weapon he’d ever had. He played a tune on his lyre that was the most beautiful ever imagined. It even reduced Hades, the god of the Underworld, to tears.
Hades: (Sniffling) Please, stop. I can’t take anymore. It’s too, too beautiful. Okay, Orpheus. Since you moved me to tears, and no one has ever done that, you may have your Eurydice back.
Persephone: Bravo, Orpheus.
Orpheus: Oh, thank you, Hades!
Hades: On one condition. I may be a softy, but I’m still king of the dead.
Eurydice will follow you back to the land of the living. But you must not turn back to look at her until you are both on the other side. If you do, she will be mine forever. Deal?
Orpheus: Sounds simple enough. Okay, bring her to me.
Chorus 2: Eurydice was brought to Orpheus. The two could not contain their joy at seeing each other.
Hades: Oh, please! Now go! And remember, do not look back!
Chorus 1: So Orpheus and Eurydice began the long journey back to the land of the living, with Eurydice walking behind Orpheus.
Chorus 2: They made it past Cerberus, who was drooling in his sleep, still wearing three big smiles from Orpheus’s playing. They met Charon at the River Styx.
Orpheus: Charon, row us back to the other side. Oh, Eurydice. We will be so happy again together. You have no idea how much I missed you!
Chorus 1: Eurydice did not answer as Charon docked the boat on the other side of the River Styx.
Orpheus: Here we are, my love. Now let’s begin the long climb upward. Soon we will be together forever away from this dark and dreary place.
Chorus 2: Still no response from Eurydice.
Orpheus: Eurydice? Are you there? Of course you are, why wouldn’t you be? Still, I wish you’d answer me. Well, it won’t be long now.
Chorus 1: The two climbed and climbed.
Orpheus: I see light up ahead. It won’t be long now! Isn’t it wonderful, Eurydice?
Chorus 2: Silence was the only answer Orpheus received.
Orpheus: This is getting frustrating! Perhaps Hades has played a trick on me and you are not there at all. But no, Persephone would not let that happen. But, what I wouldn’t give to hear your sweet voice to assure me. We’re far enough away from Hades. He can’t see us. Surely just one little peek won’t hurt. Just to be sure. Are you there, my love?
Chorus 1: Orpheus looked back at Eurydice.
Eurydice: Farewell, Orpheus. (Holding out her hands to Orpheus as she fades off)
Chorus 2: And with that, Eurydice traveled back down to the Underworld, this time, forever.
Orpheus: Eurydice! No!
Chorus 1: But it was too late. Eurydice was gone.
Chorus 2: Orpheus returned to the land of the living. But his was no life. He was so miserable, he never played his lyre.
Chorus 1: Orpheus’s grief eventually caused him to die. However, this was not such a bad thing for Orpheus.
Chorus 2: He returned to the Underworld, this time legitimately, and he and Eurydice were together forevermore.
Eurydice: (Adoringly) Play it again, Orphie.
Orpheus: Sure thing, babe.
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Athena and Arachne:
How Spiders Came to Be
Chorus 1: Hear now the tale of Arachne.
Chorus 2: The story of a mortal girl who challenged the gods.
Chorus 1: Arachne was the best mortal weaver in all of Greece.
Chorus 2: She was trained by the goddess Athena, who taught the fine arts to many people of Greece.
Customer 1: What a beautiful tapestry! I must buy it.
Arachne: Why, thank you very much.
Customer 2: Your work is exquisite! I, too, would like to purchase a tapestry.
Arachne: I appreciate your compliments.
Customer 3: This is the most beautiful weaving I have ever seen!
CHORUS 1 CHORUS 2 CUSTOMER 1 CUSTOMER 2 CUSTOMER 3 ARACHNE (uh-RACK-nee) ATHENA (uh-THEE-nuh)
Arachne: Well, actually I must agree with you. I am the best weaver in the world.
Customer 1: And one with a very high opinion of herself!
Arachne: I can’t help it. It’s true.
Customer 2: The gods have been very good to you to give you such a gift.
Arachne: Gods, schmods! The talent is mine. I got this good all by myself.
Customer 3: Arachne! You should not say such things! Were you not trained by the
Arachne: I suppose. But I’m sure I am a much better weaver even than Athena.
Athena: (Disguised as an old woman) Would you challenge the goddess Athena
to a weaving contest?
Chorus 1: Don’t be foolish, Arachne. No one challenges the gods and wins!
Chorus 2: Be very careful, Arachne!
Arachne: (To the Choruses) Oh, be quiet. (To the woman) I would challenge Athena. I’m sure she wouldn’t stand a chance against me.
Athena: (Revealing herself as Athena) Then let’s do it, you ungrateful girl.
I accept your challenge of a weaving contest.
Chorus 1: Arachne was very surprised to see Athena, but she didn’t show it.
Chorus 2: The crowd stared in awe, wondering what Arachne would do next.
Arachne: You’re on! (Everyone gasps.)
Chorus 1: The two weavers began at their looms. Athena wove a bird.
Customer 1: This bird looks like it could fly right off this tapestry!
Chorus 2: Arachne wove a flower.