Muncie, IN 2022
Ritual is an invitation for the natural world to play a role in human drama. It is an embrace of the oh-so-human fixation on symbols. To perform a ritual, members of a group need not interpret the signs in precisely the same way – they need only know how to form the signs. The usefulness of ritual is not in its correctness, but in its predictability and communitality.
The Eumenides by Aeschelyus is a “founding myth” of justice. It is a story about the unreasonable emotions of individuals giving way to the objective rationality of an institution. Read two thousand years later, however, the judicial arguments in the text appear anything but rational. When I read this play, I am always struck by how alien the beliefs and rites are. Justice itself turns out not to be a forgone logical truth but just another ritual, subject to the relative cultural position of its adherents.
We stage our adaptation of The Eumenides in the context of a Mystery Cult, ancient religious societies that would perform various rites and ceremonies. We frame the mythological characters as roles to be taken on, and the foundation of justice as cyclical and renewable. We add to the play a killed and disillusioned Agamemnon, an Electra trapped by grief even after her father has been avenged, and a Cassandra forced to tell the story of her tormentors night after night. We do this all in an attempt to embrace the Dionysian implications of what Athena has done. In enshrining Fury and putting justice in the hands of mere mortals, she has unleashed the emotional and the arbitrary, making chaos king.
In the troughs between waves of symbolic meaning, where myth fades, we see clearly that we only have each other: no gods, no heroes, just people. The blind must lead the blind, there is no other way.
FURY was a devised adaptation of The Eumenides by Aeschylus, created with support from Ball State University and Plyspace Residency Program. This show was devised and performed over the course of seven weeks with an ensemble of seven BSU acting majors.
Kyle Biggerstaff as Apollo
Graycee Butler as Electra
Marisa Dean as Clytemnestra
Maggie Kryszn as Athena
Bryce Miller as Orestes
Emily O'Flaherty as Cassandra
Kyle Roth as Agamemnon
Assistant Director/Stage Manager: Maria Reyes
Set Designer: Josefina Cordova
Lighting Designers: Darian Hrdlicka, Victoria Stills
Costume Designer: Emily Coy
Projection Designer: Jessica Token
Poster Design: Griffith Williams