Perstephanie Goes Underground

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7 characters. Flexible casting. 24 pages long. Approximately 30 minutes running time. A comedic Greek play by playwright, Elizabeth Rapoza.

Perstephanie Goes Underground is the comedic retelling of Persephone, the young Greek Goddess of Spring. In this story, Perstephanie takes a job in the Underworld in hopes of gaining more freedom and respect from her mother. However, things don’t turn out as she planned and Perstephanie learns that you can’t always go home. This play teaches lessons about growing up and becoming independent. It is a great introduction to the Greek myths and their view of the changing of the seasons and the afterlife.

Elizabeth Rapoza first began writing plays for and with children over 30 years ago. The first thing she noticed was that there were few plays for children with rewarding roles for every actor. Liz felt that each student deserved (and frequently paid) to have the same experience. Thus began “Backyard Dramatics” Liz’s youth self-scripting curriculum. In each of these workshops, student actors decide genre and create plots and characters based on original stories from the students themselves. These are then carefully scripted by Ms. Rapoza and then performed by the students.

All of Liz Rapoza’s plays are kid and audience tested, some many times over. Her youth play, “Perstephanie Goes Underground” won the Boston Public Schools Short Play Development Award. Her adult radio comedy “The Amazing Adventures of Pajamazon” was a winner in Mae West Fest of Seattle’s search for the Ultimate Female Protagonist. Her plays have also been performed at such venues as SlamBoston and the Factory Theater Boston. In addition, Liz is also a professional actor, dancer, musician, vocalist, puppeteer/puppet constructor and costumer. She has taught college theater courses since 2003. Liz currently teaches at Cape Cod Community College and the Zeiterion Theater, New Bedford, Ma.

Excerpt from the play:

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

DEMETER – Earth Mother/Goddess of the Harvest
PERSTEPHANIE – Demeter’s daughter. Maiden of Spring/Flowers
HADES – God of the Underworld and the Afterlife
HECATE – Goddess of the Dark Moon and Transitions
ZEUS – King of the Gods
ATHENA – Goddess of Wisdom and Reason
HERMES – Messenger of the Gods

SETS AND COSTUMES: Sets can be simple (Greek style pillars and draperies) or elaborate. Mt. Olympus requires a desk and chair for Zeus. Demeter’s realm (Earth) can have plants and some Harvest Festival decorations. The Underworld requires a couch and should be made dreary with such items as dark fabrics and cobwebs. Costumes should be Greek togas/chitons.

SCENE 1 – The Temple of Demeter

(PERSTEPHANIE enters. She wears a toga with teen, pop-culture accessories.)

PERSTEPHANIE
(To audience) My mother! She gives me no freedom and no privacy. I just got (sarcastically) “summoned” to her room. (sighs) I wonder what I did this time….

(DEMETER enters and faces PERSTEPHANIE, arms crossed.)

PERSTEPHANIE
Mom? You wanted to see me?

DEMETER
I did. I want you sticking close to me when we go out to work in the fields today. No wandering off…

PERSTEPHANIE
Do I have to work in the stupid fields all day?

DEMETER
The “stupid fields” feed all the people of the Earth, including you!

PERSTEPHANIE
But Mom…

DEMETER
No.

PERSTEPHANIE
(whining) But Mom, I’m supposed to hang out with the nymphs this afternoon. We’re going to frolic.

DEMETER
I don’t want you hanging around with those nymphs. I know who they are. They’ve got a bad reputation – always hanging around with satyrs and fauns and who-knows-who else!

PERSTEPHANIE
No! I swear it’ll be just us girls…really.

DEMETER
(sighs) Honey…I just don’t want to have to worry about where you are or who you’re with or what you’re doing.

PERSTEPHANIE
But Mom…

DEMETER
I said no, and that’s final. I have enough to worry about with the big harvest festival coming up…and of course you’re Uncle Dionysus is no help.

PERSTEPHANIE
I’ll help you all day tomorrow. I promise. Please?

DEMETER
I said no. You’ll stay near me today, all day. (pause, ominously) I’ve smelled sulfur and brimstone.

PERSTEPHANIE
What’s that?

DEMETER
It’s something that smells really, really bad.

PERSTEPHANIE
Why does it smell so bad?

DEMETER
Because it comes from the bowels of the Earth.

PERSTEPHANIE
(looks at audience) Eeewww! (to DEMETER) What causes it?

DEMETER
Hades.

PERSTEPHANIE
You don’t have to swear.

DEMETER
No really, Hades. He’s your second cousin…or something.

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