Take it from Zeus! Your audience will be rolling in the clouds at this zany musical send-up of ancient Greek mythology! The young prophetess Candora is convinced by the determined Pectorus to apply for the lofty position of oracle. As they set off on their mission to Delphi, they run headfirst into two other seers on the very same mission, and all-Greek chaos breaks loose! After being romanced by the dashing Cyclops and escaping the clutches of the tyrannical Hernia (the Greek Goddess of Inner Disorder), Candora learns her fate when Zeus finally appears to reveal her true destiny. This madcap, musical, Grecian spoof is an epic adventure that even the most discerning theatergoer will love.
The play opens with the pseudo ringmaster Apollo singing about the current state of Greece with some scattered, statuesque Athenians (“Opening [We Greeks Have a Myth]”). We see thunder, lightning, and earthquake, revealing that Greece is in trouble. We learn that Delphi has lost its great prophet and soothsayer, and Apollo has sent his messenger, Pectorus, across the land in search of three possible candidates (“We Need Someone Now”).
As Pectorus is on his way, he comes across Candora, the bastard child of Zeus, who has a prophetic gift. She is able to see the fates of others while never being able to see her own destiny. She is burdened with always having to speak only what is true. Pectorus puts her to the test to see if she is a worthy candidate (“The Test 1”). Candora explains her gift to him and the others (“I Know Everybody’s Business”). Pectorus describes the importance of the soothsaying responsibilities (“The Oracle At Delphi”). After she has passed the test, Candora is not sure if it is the right life for her, but Pectorus tries to encourage her to come along (“You Could Make History”).
Candora decides to journey onward with Pectorus to compete for the job of the Delphi soothsayer. At the beginning of Scene 2, they have departed Athens and arrived at the Eleusis Shoreline. There, they come across two characters, Zircony and Asphodel, who are brother and sister, both divinely beautiful. We learn that Zircony has been entrapped in chains of jewelry and is subject to danger. Her brother, Asphodel, is afflicted with their late sibling Narcissus’s confliction of vanity. He is incapable of helping his sister because he is too obsessed with his reflection in a hand mirror that he constantly peers into. As the travelers approach the two siblings, they see the creature Waspra, half-wasp and half-human, approach Zircony on the attack (“Song of the Waspra”).
After the creature begins his attack, Pectorus and Candora try to intervene in order to save Zircony. After a struggle between everyone (including Asphodel sometimes swinging his mirror at the creature), Candora has a vision: Pectorus should take the creature’s stinger out of its bottom. Pectorus takes the young prophet’s advice and Waspra, deflated, literally buzzes off.
As the characters celebrate, Zircony describes her brother’s affliction that keeps him drawn to his own image; Asphodel explains (“When I Gaze”). As Zircony then realizes why the two travelers have come, she reveals that she too has prophetic powers (though it is clear that she is lying). She then uses her flirtatious flattery to convince Pectorus of her skills (“The Test 2”). They all proceed to Delphi, even Asphodel, in the hope that his vain curse will be reversed.
As Scene 3 begins, the characters arrive at “A Sylvan Glen-Outside Thebes,” it is nighttime. A wood nymph, Nebula, and her companion and protector Cy, a Cyclops, are in the area. As the woods begin to become creepy, it is obvious that Pectorus has a soft spot for scary things, which he explains he inherited from his mother (“Mother”). It is clear that they will have to set up camp in the woods, and the other characters try to console the large man (“To Help You Through the Night”). In the middle of the night, Zircony tries to seduce Pectorus, while Asphodel and Candora have a more innocent connection of love.
As the travelers wake up in the morning, they are haunted by the sound of buzzing, a curse that Waspra placed on them upon his death (“Birth of the Snore”). As the travelers get over the dream-spell, Nebula and Cy enter to introduce themselves. Nebula is an authentic prophet, who channels voices of future Hollywood movie stars. Nebula and Cy explains the nymph’s powers in show biz style (“Believe Her”). Pectorus then gives her the opportunity to prove her powers (“The Test 3”). Candora senses there is something else haunting Nebula, and the nymph confesses she has run away from her tyrannical mother, Hernia. Hernia appears to explain her wicked ways (“Its Own Reward”).
As Scene 4 begins, we see that the group has finally reached Delphi. As they enter the Greek temple, Apollo greets them and introduces himself (“Apollo’s Entrance”). Apollo then asks the three candidates to prove their talents by describing their powers (“May I Be Candid?”).
All seems to be well until Hernia enters. It is obvious that she had seduced Apollo the previous night and put him under some kind of spell. He has agreed that there will be a human sacrifice to go along with the chosen soothsayer. The chosen candidate is the one to be killed.
While Zircony and Nebula both flee, Candora is forced to remain because she can only tell the truth: she is the best for the prophetic task. Hernia and Apollo prepare to kill Candora, with Hernia placing her green spell-seeds in everyone’s ears (“Finaletto, Act I”).
At the top of Act II, the company of travelers has been chained together with the same chains of jewelry that Zircony was entrapped by earlier. They form a sort of chain gang in which each of their powers is hindered (i.e. CY’s eye is patched so that he cannot see clearly), too confused to help Candora (“Unus Ex Machina”).
As Apollo is about to bring an axe to Candora’s head, CY, after sneezing off his blindfold, is able to stop him for a moment. He reminds the god that he will ultimately regret killing the girl because they are half siblings: they both share Zeus as a father. Apollo is awoken from his spell and reunites with his half sister as Hernia storms off (“A Hopeless Day”).
Apollo is now left biased in the choosing of the new prophet and gives the task over to CY and his clear-seeing eye. CY commits to interviewing each girl individually starting with Candora. It is clear when the Cyclops gets her alone that he has fallen in love with her (“Even If I’m Not Your Type”). Candora is confused by this new affection and runs off.
Zircony enters, having seen the previous action, and attempts to seduce CY (“Give Me the Chance”). As Zircony tries to wrap her body around CY, Pectorus and the others enter. Pectorus is extremely jealous and calls out Zircony for deceiving him earlier. Candora is also confused by a bit of jealousy; the Cyclops’ seduction has gotten to her. Asphodel is jealous of CY and still in love with Candora, while Nebula tries to cling to Asphodel. The action is halted by CY kissing Candora and carrying her off while saying to the others that he will be back to make a decision. Candora is torn between her newfound love and her goal of becoming prophet (“Right For Me”).
Just as all the couples reunite for the decision, Hernia enters, casting a sleeping spell on all of them. While they are asleep, she casts several spells, not unlike a more complicated Midsummer Night’s Dream: CY will choose the oracle he likes least, Pectorus will be overcome with jealousy to the point of violence, Nebula will begin to hear new evil voices causing her to become insane, then she will throw herself at Asphodel, Asphodel will be brought to murder CY out of jealousy for Candora, and Cy will be happy to reciprocate. Hernia forgetfully leaves some seeds behind as she exits.
Apollo returns to hear the decision as the others wake up. CY picks Zircony and chaos breaks loose (“Duel Ex Machina [This Has Got to Stop!]”). Pectorus goes after CY with a sword. Asphodel goes after Candora, and Nebula after him. CY comes back to fulfill his love for Candora, and Asphodel fights him. Hernia comes back and Zircony goes after her; as the two women fight Pectorus returns to help her. Hernia distracts him with a mouse and then stabs him fatally.
Candora is visited by Zeus, who gives her the answer to the troubled times. She begins to remove the seeds from her friends breaking the spell, while she places the left ]over seeds in some wine. As Hernia tries to attack, Candora offers her the wine and makes her sick.
CY and Asphodel return after their fight. Asphodel has sliced CY’s eye, making him have two, and CY has made Asphodel ugly. They are restored to thinking rationally. Hernia tries to go after CY, but Candora, realizing she loves him, kills off the wicked enchantress.
CY and Apollo elect Zircony as the prophet after all. She is visited by the ghost of Pectorus, who tells her he will visit to give her the visions she needs. CY is happy with Candora, and Asphodel is just as happy with Nebula. All is well again in happy Greece (“Fate Can Be Funny/Finale”).
A delicious musical romp!
Candora – 25-30. Young leading lady. Spinsterish, yet pretty soothsayer. Heroine with elating soprano voice, fascinating eyes, and devastating candor. Should also have belt voice.
Pectorus – 35-40. Robust, stalwart messenger. Bass/baritone (to high F). Powerful and muscle-bound, yet afraid of mice. A vulnerable soldier-type who is comically romantic.
Zircony – 25-30. Voluptuous, bejeweled opportunist who reforms. Constantly flirting and dissembling. Mezzo-soprano with gorgeous figure; sloe-eyed and sensuous; material-girl quality.
Asphodel – 20-28. Brother of Zircony and the fabled Narcissus, only more beautiful and self-absorbed. Childlike ingenuousness, with impulsive outbursts. Afraid of the world at large. Slightly dopey tenor (to an “A”).
Nebula – 20-30. Spacey, pixyish visionary. Often possessed by spirits' voices, yet strangely insightful. Unique soprano voice with a wide-eyed, childlike ingenuousness akin to that of Asphodel. Should be able to improvise famous voices, à la Forbidden Broadway.
CY – 25-35. A Cyclops. Nebula's protective guard and traveling companion. Tall, well-built, and dashing with a mythological quality— like a super hero. A plain-talking, straightforward crusader with an irresistible baritone voice.
Hernia – 35-40. Charismatic goddess of disorder. An all-out villainess who revels in black magic and cruelty. Tall, seductive, hilariously evil alto, who may have the aura of a nightclub star.
Apollo / Waspra / Zeus – 35-45. The grandiose, quintessential sun god. Doubles as Zeus, as well as Waspra— a mythic Greek monster, half-human and half-monster. Funny character actor with a strong baritone voice. Imperious, with the theatricality of a game-show host. Adept at fast/patter song.
Casting Note: Many of the performers double as ATHENIANS in the opening scene.
Setting: Ancient Greece
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“This chipper little show is delightfully diverting, cheerily wholesome (but never cloying), and plenty of fun!” –nytheatre.com
“Witty spoof of Greek myth and myths in general!” –The Village Voice
“A delicious musical romp!” –Back Stage
“Delphi or Bust is a charming and modest new musical celebrating the spirit of Greek mythology and, more generally, the very act of story-telling.” –nytheatre.com
Materials: Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production. They can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.
The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Delphi or Bust includes: