It is time for Death to collect the soul of Admetos, King of Thessaly. Admetos is a great king, and his people need him, so a bargain is reached. The life of Admetos can be saved if someone will die in his stead, but no one is found willing except his wife, Alcestis. As her funeral begins, Heracles (an old friend of the family and midway through his epic twelve labors) arrives. The grief-stricken Admetos welcomes Heracles into his house as his guest, but does not tell him about Alcestis' sacrifice. The unwitting Heracles proceeds to carouse, and in a drunken action-packed scene, hallucinates that he is freeing the Titan Prometheus. The servants, appalled at his behavior, finally confront him about Alcestis' death, and a mortified Heracles decides to fight Death to win her back. He succeeds because hey, he's Heracles!
Euripides, Greek tragedian, was born in Salamis in 480 B.C., a rival and contemporary of Sophocles, and friend of Socrates. Euripides studied under Anaxagoras, and produced his first tragedy in 455. Only 19 of his somewhere-between-75-and-92 plays have survived. Died 406 B.C.
ABOUT TED HUGHES
Ted Hughes was Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II until his death in 1998. His last work was this incredible translation/adaptation of Euripides' classic tragi-comedy, lending the language a modern, high-energy edginess.
Click on the links on the left to see the cast and character lists for 'Alcestis'.