Portraying rape from
ancient days to present
Persephone Bound is a new take on the classic Greek myth
By Byron Toben
Westmount Magazine’s preview of this timely production, Persephone Bound, earlier in November contained all I that could say about the finished piece after seeing it on November 15.
As mentioned in my own review of the new musical Mythic at the Segal Centre, which also draws on the ancient myth of the goddess of spring, Persephone, this senior gal (estimated born between 3000 and 6000 years ago) still intrigues.
The current Broadway musical, Hadestown also blends her story with that of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Mythic portrays the teenage Persephone as being somewhat attracted to bad boy Hades and not so unwilling to engage in congress with him. The Greek legends, however, from Hesiod and Homer, as well as the Roman Ovid, portray her abduction and violation as less consensual.
In Persephone Bound, co-creator Leda Davies displays her rape angst not only in words but in many minutes of Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics on high. In our age of #me too, this is a timely way to express oneself.
Sadly sexual rape and violence have been with us through out the ages.
How rewarding to see this collaboration between two of our finer smaller companies, Geordie Theatre… and Imago Theatre… And of course, credit Screaming Goat Collective, which created this show.
Sometimes, it was a group thing. Take, for instance the Rape of the Sabine Women by Romulus and his Roman rowdies after inviting the neighbouring ladies to a picnic that turned into an orgy.
In our times the eminent singer/psychologist E. Aaron Presley expressed this male urge as You Aint Nothin’ But A Hound Dog.
Even famous figures get involved with claims as serial predators. Sixty women filed against entertainer Bill Cosby. Thirty-five have done so against politician Donald Trump, the latest, former NYC gossip columnist E. Jean Carroll, just last June. A certain presidential spokesperson might add, “We do this all the time. Get over it “
At least the myth of Persephone has inspired various artistic works, although it is doubted that the above examples will.
There are at least ten film or TV shows (e.g. Walt Disney’s 1934 The Goddess of Spring, the 2003 Netflix sequels to The Matrix).
Add to this 12 literary spin-offs including Mary Shelley’s drama, Proserpine & Midas (published posthumously), Edna St Vincent Millay’s two 1921 poems and 7 videogames.
Oh yeah, some 8 musical inspirations.
As Mehitabel the cat warbled in Fishbone Alley, “There’s life in the old dame yet”.
How rewarding to see this collaboration between two of our finer smaller companies, Geordie Theatre, founded by Elsa Bolam in 1980, and Imago Theatre, founded by Andres Hausmann in 1987. And of course, credit Screaming Goat Collective, which created this show.
With this continued Persephone persistence, someone should take a look at staging/adapting Mary Shelley’s script above (Proserpine is the Latin name for Persephone). Chance for big bucks after all – Frankenstein’s Monster raked them in.
Persephone Bound continues at the DB Clarke Theatre until November 24.
Feature image: Andrée Lanthier
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.