Khaos is a re-imagining of the ancient fertility myth of Demeter and Persephone. In the original myth, Persephone is abducted by her uncle Hades, and taken to the Underworld to be his wife. Persephone’s mother, the Goddess Demeter, enters a period of intense grief which threatens to destroy the fertile earth. Eventually the other Gods intervene and a deal is struck – Persephone will spend half the year with Hades and half with Demeter.
This original myth expresses the cycles of fertility, the order of the seasons. Spring will follow winter, Persephone will return and Demeter will restore fertility to the earth. In our re-imagining of the Demeter and Persephone story, we push past the given conclusion of the original myth to ask, what if a civilization’s need for progress prevented Persephone from returning to console her grieving mother? Would the cycles of rejuvenation be broken?
Written to express contemporary tensions regarding climate change, Khaos illustrates how short-sightedness, greed and desire – common sources of human weakness – can lead to global impacts that we, as a race, have difficulty fathoming.
“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.”
Orchestra Size – fl, oboe, clar, bsn, tp, fhn, tbn, pno, timp, perc, strings
Leads – 7
Chorus – 6 minimum (4 if Helios and Hekate double as chorus)
Total – 13 plus dancer (11 if Helios and Hekate double as chorus)
Persephone – a young woman / Queen of the Underworld
Demeter – her mother / Goddess of Grain / the Earth
Adriana – Persephone’s friend
Cerberus – Gatekeeper of the Underworld
Hades – Lord of the Underworld – Demeter’s brother, Persephone’s uncle
Helios – God of the Sun – Demeter’s brother, Persephone’s uncle
Hekate (aka Hestia) Goddess of the Hearth – Demeter’s sister, Persephone’s aunt
Dancer – can also be Persephone’s Suitor, Man 1
Chorus – chorus doubles as upper world and Hades chorus
Upper World – Demeter’s world – the earth
Underworld –Hades’ Kingdom – the afterlife / death
Between the Worlds – approaching Hades.
Act 1, ca, 70 min
Act 2, ca, 50 min