Dr. Lowery* and Amanda** are both suggesting I take the Shakespeare class during the Summer II semester. On one hand, WANT, on the other hand, am lazy.
So I wrote a new scene for the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. I love that my professor essentially assigns classical fanfic.
For those not familiar, a short version:
Orpheus = greatest poet ever. He was all set to marry Eurydice. Then, on the day of their wedding, she stepped on a snake, got bitten, and died. Orpheus Did Not Want, so he went to Hades and managed to actually convince the god of the underworld to give him back his bride. He's that good with words. The only condition is that he can't turn around and look at her on the way back to the entrance to Hades, or he'll lose her forever. Orpheus manages to keep from looking until almost the very end, when he gives in, turns, and she slips away. Sad.
We read the poem "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes" by Rilke, and I really loved how Eurydice's point of view was handled. The human existence is completed in death -- once she's moved on past living, the people she's left behind don't really even register anymore. She doesn't recognize Orpheus, doesn't react to him, barely notices what's going on. Almost zombie-like, or as though she's in shock. SO many interesting things to do with that -- I wanted to modernize it and do something about PTSD, but it would have gotten way too long and complicated.
I decided to go with a new version of the story, where Orpheus doesn't look. In fact, he's so worried about losing her that he waits until she's physically inside his house before he turns to look at her (this is explained in the last two stanzas of the poem, which I re-wrote). Once he's got her there, he realizes that she's not reacting. She's not making eye contact. So at Eurydice's servant's suggestion, he goes to see Persephone and ask what the deal is -- after all, Persephone travels to and from the underworld every year, and she's not having issues. Maybe she knows something he doesn't.
Unfortunately, all the goddess can tell him is that she's an immortal. The shift between life and death doesn't matter for her. Eurydice is dead, and not even the gods can change Fate.
This statement inspires Orpheus to seek out the Fates, who spin the threads of life. He begs them to somehow fix Eurydice's thread, to give him back his bride. They can't exactly tie her thread in a knot so it can keep going, but they DO offer one option...
The last scene is Orpheus holding an infant. To bring her back, Eurydice had to be reborn. So now he is going to raise her until she is old enough for marriage***.
Now, I am wordy. Very much so. And it was kind of unreasonable to expect everyone to memorize their lines. Then Amanda had a brilliant and hilarious idea -- we'd watched Cocteau's Orpheus in class, in French with subtitles. Why not make this a 'foreign' film as well? So the actors lip-synched, while others near the camera read their lines. This looks hilarious and meant no one had to memorize anything. Win!
We got Emma to play Eurydice (she was about the right age, anyway), and Amanda's fiancee dubbed in Orpheus' voice. The other two group members, Sarah and Nicole, were awesome as well. We managed to shoot the whole thing in about two hours. Hooray!
*My Creative Writing/Women in Mythology professor. She is awesome, and I want to be her when I grow up. I've got her for two more classes in the fall.
**Amanda was in my Poetry class last semester, and is currently in my Women in Mythology and Fiction classes. In the fall, we have Screenwriting and the Literary Magazine together. We are stalking Dr. Lowery.
*** Originally there was a less-creepy ending where Orpheus left the baby at a temple to Persephone, waited to see who took her, and vowed to return for her when she was old enough to be married. But we decided to be creepy.