Cupid and Psyche: A Play in Blank Verse (2009) – How I love Thee, Tale as Old as Time

Now this one was a discovery I am ever so thankful for! A search for something mythological, with the addition of one of the oldest tales ever told, told anew in this play that is so exquisitely made with such prose (Blank verse for those who don’t know) that it makes the story both familiar and yet new for ears who have heard this story many times before.


Aphrodite is jealous of Psyche’s and asks her son, Cupid, to strike her down for being more beautiful than her. Instead he falls in love with her and marries her. Psyche’s sisters Livia and Dareia are jealous of their sister and decide to cause strife in every manner. Adonis, lover of both Aphrodite and Persephone desires to be free of his slavery to both goddesses.


The above is the Boston 2009 Emerson College workshop version of the play, still having its rough edges in terms of character sympathies (looking at you Cupid) amongst a few other things, but still well made and directed. Written by Emily C. A. Snyder this play is a revelation. A part of her Love and Death Trilogy that explores the many myths that culminate in this Cupid and Psyche play. Making us see the story anew and adding to it with thematically right subplots and beautiful gorgeous prose. She has a blog and I recommend reading it and her other works are listed in her official website and some plays can be found on Kindle in Amazon.

There was also a bigger revised and deemed Better Quarto production made of it in New York in 2014 that garnered attention and good reviews, but it certainly deserved more than it got. I want to see it! Give me a filmed version if it in to YouTube! I will pay for it if I must!


Now blank verse is not something anyone should fear reading, talking or acting. It is essentially modern text put to a meter that is easier to understand. Just like Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter is easy to learn how to speak and read if you know what you are speaking of. This play though is very straightforward even within its flowery prose, I personally found it easy, especially with hearing the play before reading it and knowing unconsciously where to go against the meter and when to go with it and what words to stress in my mind for the characters I knew. Hear it before reading it, is what I recommend before trying acting this. Which also means you have to watch the 2009 production of it! And here is a link where Emily C. A. Snyder explains it all:

I acted Psyche’s speech when Cupid hadn’t shown himself since they had kissed once in a practice audition at my theatre class and got praised for it, for getting such an obscure play to act from that made out visiting teacher curious as I explained all the details of what I knew of where it was performed and for acting it well too. So yeah, this has my personal acting stamp of approval!


The whole version is available on Kindle and I recommend it! A purchase worth making for all the behind the scenes details and author notes. A good one for any theatre geek or a mythology lover!

As for the play itself, I have only seen this Boston workshop version of it in YouTube and loved it from the first, watching it over and over again and never tiring of it. It is well acted, with a lot of good humour and characters one wishes one could act if this play was more well known.

This 2009 production is directed by Brenda Huggins and she makes most of the limits of theatre to create a world which is all about what the senses can see. There is a nod to Shakespeare that is funny itself because of the meta contained in it. All mortals wearing masks while the Immortals don their own when disguised amongst them, because mortals wear masks to hide their true selves while immortals are what they are, good or bad or grey and aren’t ashamed of it. The music choices are great! Modern, with a hint of odd classical thrown in, but they serve more as scene changes yet are memorable.


(Picture from the rehearsals with Cupid with his bow about to strike Psyche from Emily C. A. Snyder’s blog)

And now finally the characters! All from the Boston 2009 production of course, since it’s the only one I can judge acting-wise.

Lindsay Hammy-Real as Psyche is quite Belle like with her constant reading and sharp mind and tongue, which gives forth many laughs. There are times when she is a little stiff, but I put that to her interpretation being one of Psyche being aloof of almost all men. But when the softer romantic and tragedy occurs she shouts with all the tremor of vulnerability. In the revised version it is essentially a story of her awakening sexuality, which adds a lot to her character.

Joe Gianoni as Cupid is perfectly charming, his attitude changing with every person he meets. With his mother he is snappy and rolls his eyes at his vain mother, those who joke with him he jokes right back with nail biting sarcasm and wit, with Psyche his verses sing and then when he turns in to his worse self he acts the worst parts, the self hating, the loathing and anger of Cupid. The actor wanted to keep the bad parts of Cupid, but they were changed for the 2014 production, with having him be a god who would do anything for his mortal love, his speech after the interval is as beautiful as the one about Psyche’s awakening.

Anni Finnerty as Aphrodite is a delight! Having a mix of a spoiled rich brat with the haughtiness befitting Aphrodite’s mythology and also the tenderness and reluctant kindness that in the end are a part of her character. She is so wonderful I smile every time she is on screen talking!

Stephanie Evatt as Persephone is elegant and thoughtful. Though personally the change of Hades and Persephone’s eternal perfect love story to one about bitterness is a little cringy, but that is because of my own take on it in mythology, nothing more.  She is seductive, a femme fatale, but one who orchestrates a lot of the turns in the plot for her own favour. A villain, but one we love.

Ryan Gonor as Adonis/Brontes has the job of playing two different characters. Adonis is a servant to goddesses, but doesn’t mind Cupid’s wondering eye at him. He is also a bitter man, wanting to be mortal and dead, because it means he will be free of the clutches of his mistresses. Brontes, he is the funny best friend of the groom in this, and he has very good lines that. He is also a nervous character, unlike the confident Adonis.

Kate Bromley as Thanos, Psyche’s father, played by a woman, but who cares about it since Bromley acts it so well it doesn’t matter at all. Also a nice callback to Ancient Greek theatre where all parts were played by men, only now in reverse for one character. She is to the point and matter-of-fact in her speech, having many of the funniest lines in the play.

Kate Teigen as Dareia, Psyche’s married sister, is in one word, a bitch. Arrogant, a bully with no care for anyone but herself. Never mind anyone else’s feelings. When the ending revelations come it is oddly satisfying, yet one still feels a little morsel of sympathy for her.

Audrey Stcuk as Livia, Psyche’s unmarried sister, who dreams of love and wants to marry Brontes who detests her. She is the sympathetic one of the two sisters, but weak willed. Blinded by love to see any other options except the one she is obsessed about, that is her flaw.

Peter Andersen as Chrysos is Livia’s husband who was bought to marry her by their father and who clearly doesn’t care about her. He slides from comical to serious quickly, going over the top and making the audience laugh at his antics. He is very adept at physical humour and it shows.

Lastly, I do wish you watch the play or buy the Kindle edition of it. It deserves more love and more recognition because its so good. There are hardly any new iambic pentameter plays done today and this is new, fresh with wonderful prose and characters that are an actors dream if anyone sounds like something one would like to perform. Also, it is an adult play, not for kids, but meant for those ages of 16 and beyond. With all of the sharp humour and quotable lines it would work well in any place. So please, watch it or read it, you won’t regret it if you think this is something you would like!

Thank you for reading! 

6 thoughts on “Cupid and Psyche: A Play in Blank Verse (2009) – How I love Thee, Tale as Old as Time

  1. Hi, I just wanted to tell you that the revised version of 2014 is also aviable on YouTube. In a channel named “turn into flesh” in a hidden list of 11 videos. Just in case you still want to watch it. Good luck finding it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so so much!!!! I know the channel. I went out and found in the place you said!! I hardly ever looks at the playlists so no wonder I missed it even though I’ve combed through YouTube in hopes of finding it. I seriously owe you one! 😀 😀

      And thank you for reading my blog!


  2. Hello friends! I stumbled across this today, on a day I needed a much-needed pick-me-up, and I’m grateful to you both. (Also: huh, hadn’t realized you could still find that 2014 video. But I hope you enjoyed it.)

    Thank you for bringing a smile to my face and have a perfectly splendid day!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I am happy you found my blog!
      And yes, I really enjoyed the 2014 production! I am glad it is still available to watch.
      I am happy my review brought a smile to your face. It is truly an honour. 🙂


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