Scene from “Psyche and Eros,” a Greek drama being performed by local theater group ACTivate. | Photos: Adam Forsgren, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — A local theater class will be bringing a Greek mythology tale to life next week in a new play.
ACTivate, a local theater group, is presenting “Psyche and Eros,” the full-length, family-friendly story of the Greek god of love falling for a human. Heather Fahnestock, ACTivate’s mentor and director, wrote the play and will direct the production.
“Eros is the one the Romans called ‘Cupid,’ the one who goes around with his arrows making people fall in love,” Fahnestock told EastIdahoNews.com. “He ends up falling in love with a mortal and his mother, Aphrodite, is extremely jealous.”
Eros fears Aphrodite’s jealousy, so he attempts to hide his relationship by marrying in secret. Unfortunately, his love for Psyche is discovered and Aphrodite sets three impossible tasks for Psyche to complete. Failure would result in Eros and Psyche never seeing one another again.
“It’s one of the few Greek dramas that ends happily,” Fahnestock said. “You can see elements of a lot of our Western fairy tales that were taken from this story.”
“Psyche and Eros” employs a Greek chorus, a typical part of traditional Greek dramas, to help tell the story. Fahnestock said while the chorus does play the role of the narrator in her play, that’s not all they do.
“They also are an integral part of the story,” she explained. “They reflect the characters’ inner turmoil. They fill in the extra parts, like the peasants or sometimes they’re a servant or a goat or a magical ram.”
The play stars members of ACTivate, a group of home-schooled theater students hailing from throughout eastern Idaho. Auditions for “Psyche and Eros” were held in November, followed by three rehearsals a week until the play opens.
“The kids put in a lot of hours and worked really hard,” Fahnestock said. “It’s just really exciting to see the impact of theater on young people.”
Fahnestock said her years of work with ACTivate have allowed her to witness the transformative role that theater can play in a young person’s life. The ACTivate kids grow and blossom in creativity, confidence and many other benefits.
“Drama requires teamwork,” Fahnestock explained. “It requires learning to work to a deadline, working together on a huge project. You know, we usually take ten weeks to put this together, so it’s not like they have to work hard for three days and then they’re done. Also, their communication skills and being able to speak clearly and confidently.”
“All of those are important skills to have for adult life or just living in the real world,” she added.
ACTivate will present “Psyche and Eros” on February 4, 6, 7, and 8 at Christ Community Church in Idaho Falls at 7:00 p.m. There will be matinee performances Feb. 7 and 8 at 2 p.m. Admission is free. Click here for more information.