MainStreet Award

Directors' Choice Award Winner

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Mourning Becomes Ridiculous

Book and lyrics by David Eisner, music by Chuck Muckle


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Musical Selections

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During sunrise lamentations, the Victims of History are scattered by Phoebe, Chloe, and LaVerne; each dreamt messages (IN A DREAM): the Fates have given up, and they’re to spread news of new freedom. They take on the most miserable Mycenaen: Electra. She’s lamenting, waiting for brother Orestes to return and avenge the murder of their father (WAITING FOR HIM). Electra tells the Chorus she’ll believe that things will have changed if they bring Orestes back.

At Orestes’s hovel, he has hidden for sixteen years with tutor Pedagogus. The Chorus appears, and (I’M GONNA BE A STAR) whisk Orestes away. Pedagogus is left behind.

At the palace, Electra and sister Chrysothemis serve breakfast to mother Clytemnestra and present husband Aegisthus. The murder-couple sing of FAMILY and plan their anniversary party for that night. When Electra challenges Chrysothemis, the latter explains how she survives (GO WITH THE FLOW), suggesting that Electra try it.

At the hovel, Pedagogus is confronted by the Victims of History, who invite him to Mycenae. He is reluctant (DON’T ASK ME) but relents.

Orestes is at the top of the hill overlooking Mycenae, but sees things are much changed (HOME AGAIN). He runs off; the Chorus handles Chrysothemis, who is placing libations on her father’s grave.

At the palace, Clytemnestra is maniacal over Electra, who is wildly “go(ing) with the flow,” faking happiness while scrubbing the palace steps. She is commanded to stop, and so leaves the steps unrinsed. The murder-couple leaves, Electra remains, soon joined by Pedagogus who has been dumped there by the Victims of History. After some confusion, they discover each’s identities and come undone (STOP SIGN). Joined by Chrysothemis and Orestes, they agree they are just as miserable as before the Fates had given up. The Chorus too is close to despair, when a lone bird flies overhead, which gives them a bit of hope (BIRDS OF THE AIR).

Clytemnestra and Aegisthus prepare the party (FAMILY reprise), and Pedagogus narrates as the lovers slip on the unrinsed palace steps and, well, die.  The three children and their tutor are at the brink of self-pity, but the Chorus helps guide them shakily forward. The Victims of History (plus new Victims Clytemnestra and Aegisthus) trudge along with their evening lamentations, but are chased out of town by the newly happy Myceneans. (MOURNING BECOMES RIDICULOUS).


in and around Mycenae, sixteen years to the day after Clytemnestra and her then-lover Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon, the children’s father.

Cast breakdown:

CLYTEMNESTRA: Queen of Mycenae, alto
AEGISTHUS:  her present husband, baritone
ELECTRA:   daughter to Clytemnestra and the late Agamemnon, mezzo/belt
CHRYSOTHEMIS:  her sister, alto belt
ORESTES:  her brother, tenor
PEDAGOGUS:  their tutor, baritone/character singer

the women of Mycenae (Chorus)

CHLOE:  the youngest, soprano/mezzo
PHOEBE:  he most mature, soprano
LAVERNEL:  the quirkiest, mezzo

the Victims of History
(a non-singing chorus of ghosts - doubled by rest of cast when possible) -helpful if these actors can sing-


SPOTLIGHT ON: Mourning Becomes Ridiculous


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