Persephone-themed plays, it seems, are like buses: there’s one along every minute. Just as the musical Mythic is wowing audiences at the Segal, here comes another theatrical take on the story of the goddess abducted to the Underworld by Hades.
Persephone Bound, a co-production between Geordie Theatre and Imago Theatre (in association with the wonderfully named Screaming Goats Collective), plays at D.B. Clarke Theatre from Nov. 15 to 24. Directed by Imago’s Micheline Chevrier and aimed at audiences age 13 and older, it features circus artist Léda Davies using a combination of movement and poetic text to bring the ancient myth into the modern world.
An expert in the use of aerial straps, Davies swoops, plummets and writhes as she charts Persephone’s journey through the living hell of a campus party gone wrong and its equally traumatic aftermath.
Persephone Bound is, as Davies explains by phone, unflinching in its focus on the myth’s darker elements.
“In my research of Persephone, I couldn’t find any interpretation of the myth that spoke from her point of view,” she says. “She’s essentially captured by Hades, taken into the Underworld and raped. People seem to justify this as Persephone wanting the power of being Queen of the Underworld. So it began to spin my thinking wheels about how often we excuse assault by people in power simply by saying the person who was assaulted wanted it to happen for some reason.”
Davies, who wrote the piece with Jed Tomlinson (who also provides the percussive soundtrack) and Michaela Jeffery, began thinking about the piece in 2015, pre-MeToo but during the time of such high-profile cases as those of Brock Turner and Jian Ghomeshi. Clearly, Davies’s interpretation of Persephone’s ordeal is a world away from Mythic’s depiction of a charming and consensual romance between the Queen and King of the Underworld. But, she says, she has no problem with that musical’s playful approach to the myth.
“It’s always interesting how these stories want to be told at similar times. There must be some sort of energy or need for us as artists to want to tell the Persephone story right now. We can see how adaptations can take so many different forms. For us, we’re using it to talk about the myth of consent. I think it’s exciting for audiences in Montreal to get a glimpse of the different things we can do with this material.”
AT A GLANCE
Persephone Bound plays from Nov. 15 to 24 at D.B. Clarke Theatre, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Tickets: $21, students and seniors $18. Call 514-845-9810 or visit geordie.ca.