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Blue Moon Plays|Phaedra|Contemporary Drama

Phaedra: A Modern Drama based on the Legend

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a contemporary play loosely based on the Greek legend
by Robert P. Arthur

​Cast of Characters

Tony A poet in his twenties
JerryTony’s uncle
PhaedraTony’s stepmother, in her thirties
Nona Phaedra’s middle-aged maid
Alisha`Tony’s fiancé
TeddyTony’s father and Phaedra’s husband
Tony’s motherA voice from the shadows 
FishwivesFigures in shadows


Setting: A second story room with a window overlooking the night sea. The set is not realistic, possibly employing columns and a blue marble floor. A fire is burning in a suggestion of a fireplace. The type of room is unspecified and is furnished by only a chair, a very small desk, and a full-length mirror.

Tony: How tempestuous it is!
  Wave upon wave of agitation
  It must be Phaedra

Jerry: Let's both hope not
You've poetry to write
  And I've these figures 

Tony: My father brought her from over that rippling shadow, Uncle
From that savage place…in a primal dark
Listen, Uncle, to the bellowing of Poseidon’s bull
Will Phaedra come up here? 
The sea snorts and storms, tosses it head
in the cape work of wind

Jerry Bad dreams again?

Tony:  (Mutters, composing, testing the words as hecomposes a poem)  
It's one o'clock
  Darkness seeps into muscle and bone
  The wiild sea surges in paddocks of rock

Jerry: You are disturbed, Tony
  by your stepmother's walks?  

Tony: Night after night
She is predatory, Uncle
    (Lightning flashes)
Have you seen how she looks at me? Eyes boring, black as death, and grave? 

Jerry: She longs for her own country
  Who wouldn't?
Left alone here, in the compound
With you and me and her lying nursemaid, a terrible woman

Tony: Often, Phaedra pauses beneath this 
  window, listening
  What does she mean by it?

Jerry: How should I know?
  I'm a bachelor, 
  And do your father's books

Tony: Sometimes I dream of my father 
And Phaedra in their bedroom by the sea
in failing light
She combing and braiding her long black hair

(Tony shuts eyes)

In Greek mythology, Phaedra, the daughter of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae of Crete, married Theseus, king of Athens and slayer of the beast known as the Minotaur. (Earlier, Ariadne had helped him kill the Minotaur and escape from Crete.)  heseus had a son named Hippolytus from a previous marriage and, after his marriage to Phaedra, they went to see him. Phaedra fell madly in love with his son Hippolytus, but he was disgusted by her feelings. Rejected, Phaedra killed herself and left a note saying that Hippolytus had raped her. When Theseus found the note, he asked the god Poseidon to take revenge on Hippolytus. One day as Hippolytus was driving his chariot by the seashore, Poseidon sent a sea monster to frighten Hippolytus's horses. The horses bolted, tangling Hippolytus in the reins and killing him. 
modern play based on phaedra legend
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