In 2009 composer Maurice Chernick had a dream in which he found himself visiting his own "afterlife". When he awoke he was inspired to make contact with writer Diane Samuels - in their teens (now four decades ago!) they'd attended the same youth theatre in Liverpool, taking part in group devised musical shows together. He asked Diane if she'd be up for writing a new piece of music theatre that went on the journey beyond the everyday into the eternal, finding an entertaining and enlightening way to meld ancient myth and modern life. Three years of creative adventuring later, Persephone (a love story) emerged asa full length piece with over twenty songs, a script by Diane, music by Maurice, and lyrics by both.
Sephi is daughter of Deo, goddess of Nature. Her future alongside her mother, nurturing all that grows, is assured. And yet she is drawn to the shadows, to the gnarled willow tree where, the Moon goddess Hecate tells her, Death himself emerges from the hidden realms to prowl the world. She does not realize that whilst she is questioning everything, she is herself being watched by an admirer from below. Hades, god of the Underworld is besotted. He secures permission from Zeus, Sephi’s father and god of the skies, to take her. A trap is set - a field of strange flowers. Sephi is mesmerized and picks one. The earth cracks open. Hades abducts her into his domain and proceeds to court her, offering eternal marriage in the shadowlands of ghosts. Meanwhile, on Earth, Deo’s grief at the loss of her beloved daughter leads to the shutdown of nature. Humanity teeters on the brink of extinction.
Inspired by the ancient myth that is the blueprint for some of the most popular “dark” rites of passage love stories of recent times, including the “Twilight” trilogy and “Phantom of the Opera”, Persephone (a love story) is set in the a world of “Now and Forever” where one young woman’s journey affects all humankind, evoking the essential cycles of all our lives: the poignant parting of child from childhood, emergence from the protective motherly embrace and facing the fear and passion of sexual awakening with a dark soul mate.
First Public Staged Reading at THE ROSEMARY BRANCH, JANUARY, 2013.