So I have completed the Really Rough Draft of Day 2, and this day is a very large. 12 plays (technically 13) and 354 pages. The combination of the first and second is 690 pages. This will most likely be the longest Day.
Just in case this is your first check in to this blog, when I use the term Day, think of a very long Act.
Overall my writing tempo has slowed a little due to the fact that I started teaching every day and directing at night, but I still make time early morning to fulfill my allotted hours of 21 hours a week.
Okay so Day 2 Really Rough Draft, in the order, and I am using my own titles: PROMETHEUS, THE BRIDES, ALCESTIS, HERAKLES, IN TRACHIS, THE CHILDREN, IPHIGENIA, RHESUS, IN THRACE, PHILOKTETES, AJAX, HECUBA.
The over arcing journey of Day 2, as of now, is the birth and death of heroism. It needs a lot of work, but it starts with Herakles learning about the concept of sacrifice and honor, then he becomes the legend we know of him and begins to crumble beneath the pressure. Then we start the Trojan War, and take it up the Troy falling. And we watch people trying to deal with the concept of honor in an ever-changing world. Until honor is abandoned for the sake of victory. Its kind of sad, but after all these are tragedies.
I have made the following alteration to the originals.
In PROMETHEUS, which is Prometheus Bound. I have added elements of the lost Aeschylus play, Prometheus Unbound. I amalgamated most of the characters, other than Prometheus, into a young Herakles. I keep Io, wandering the land as a cow. And I keep the chorus of Oceanids, but rather than a group of them, I chose one Oceanid, Nemesis, who has a rich history, but in mythic history is not related to Prometheus. She just seemed like the best Oceanid to chose, I still exploring this character, but I am excited about the potential.
In Prometheus Bound, as Aeschylus wrote it, Prometheus prophesizes that at the end of 16 generations, a child will be born that frees him, this child is Herakles. Prometheus also predicts the events of The Suppliant Maidens (which I call The Brides, so it’s not confused with Euripides’ The Suppliants.) which, after a few generations will lead to the birth of Herakles.
In my PROMETHEUS, the young Herakles stumbles across the bound Prometheus years after he was enchained. They have debates about power and individual freedom, that Prometheus, as Aeschylus wrote, has with Hephaestus and Oceanus. The main subject of Prometheus Bound is Prometheus’s rebellion against Zeus, I made Zeus an unnamed Tyrant, I think most of the audience knows whom is being discussed, but abstracting Zeus a little seemed to sit better with me, and allowed me t make certain decision that is better for the whole event.
I knew I wanted PROMETHEUS to start Day 2, but I also knew I wanted Herakles present, rather than only prophesized. So it presented a problem of time, because THE BRIDES takes place generations before Herakles’ birth, and PROMETHEUS, because of the presence of a young Io, takes place generations before THE BRIDES. I haven’t quite dealt with that problem other than Herakles and Prometheus although are living in the same play, exist in separate eras; so they argue about time period it is. My treatment is still very awkward, I just know I gain much by starting Day 2 by introducing the audience to Herakles.
THE BRIDES, I unified the chorus of Danaids into the one character Hypermnestra, who is the bride who doesn’t kill her husband Lynceus, and there stock leads to Herakles. I am still deciding whether to stage the violence with The Brides killing their husbands. The main problem with that is that Charles Mee did it really well in his adaptation Big Love. So as of now, it ends with no violence, and the audience not sure what is going to happen, and it is explained later Hypermnestra doesn’t kill Lynceus. Overall, this is very unsatisfying and I know I eventually have to put the groom slaughter on stage.
For the remaining Herakles plays (ALCESTIS, HERAKLES, IN TRACHIS, and THE CHILDREN) I focus on Herakles’ relationship to his only daughter Makaria, who eventually kills herself to save her brothers in THE CHILDREN. She also has a relationship with Demophon, Theseus’ son, who took over rule of Athens after Theseus. Theseus is usually in HERAKLES, but I removed him and left Demophon as the only link of Day 1 and Day 2. It seemed more interesting to me for Day 2 to feel like the generation after Day 1, even though in the classical telling of the myths, it is not.
In HERAKLES is also changed Megara, to Herakles’ second wife Dejanira. Dejanira is accidentally responsible for Herakles’ death during IN TRACHIS, and it ended up being confusing to have two wives, and two sets of children for Herakles as a character. Also, Megara is Creon’s daughter, so this connection between Day 1 and Day 2 could be exciting, but adding Megara to Day 1 made the end of ANTIGONE, where every one dies, less impactful. So Megara is now Dejanira.
Now we get to Troy which is connected to Herakles by Philoktetes receiving Herakles’ Bow, which is responsible for the downfall of troy.
I tried to amalgamate the characters of these plays, so the audience could invest more deeply in less people. I keep all the major ones, and pepper a few from other plays into plays in which they were originally absent. I think this really helps the over all story of Troy.
The really trick was forcing The Persians into this Day. Since, I have decided to attempt this entire project, The Persians was the one play I was like “Oh brother, where does that fit in.” It is the only extant Greek tragedy written directly about fairly contemporary events. I made many alterations to this play, the core debate is the same as Aeschylus proposed, but I related to RHESUS, which is a fairly messy Euripides play. The plays in tandem help tell a better story, and actually help to support HECUBA. I basically made The Persians, which I call IN THRACE, the story of Polymestor returning to Thrace after his father Rhesus was killed by the Greeks, I also use it to tell the story of Polymestor harboring Hecuba’s son Polydore, during the Trojan War. Polymestor eventually kills Polydore and Hecuba seeks revenge by blinding Polymestor. Which is cool. So, I apologize in advance of any huge fans of Aeschylus’ The Persians, I think I maintain the spirit and the main thoughts of the play, I just transposed it to different characters and a different setting. I think this play is the biggest sacrifice of the concept of adapting and unifying all 32 tragedies.
HECUBA, is an amalgamation of Hecuba and The Trojan Women. My version is mostly The Trojan Women, but adding Polyxena, usually only mentioned in Trojan Women, but a really strong character in Hecuba. And then adding the Polymestor blinding for Hecuba as well. These plays are brutal and horribly sad. I was originally going to start Day 3 with HECUBA, to have all of Day 3 deal with everything after Greek victory at Troy. But after working on it, I realized it needed to be connected immediately to all the Trojan plays. This makes for a really long Day 2, but I think it will be worth it for the audience.
Day 3 is starting to take shape. The Orestes plays (and Helen). These plays are really trippy and violent. I think Day 3 is going to be really fun to work on. And crazy!
Be well. Thanks for reading.