Psyche, the goddess of soul, was born as a third daughter in her family, exceeding her sisters’ beauty and earning the attentions of everyone around her so completely that Venus’ temples and Venus herself were found ignored. Not much care was put into changing Psyche’s story, evidenced primarily from her remained name, and perhaps because the Romans believed her and her story to be suitable enough on its own, as a compelling and high-risk story of love and heartache. Venus still serves as a catalyst for Psyche and Cupid to meet, when out of jealousy she orders him to make Psyche fall in love with a something hideous. Cupid struggles with the quest, falling in love with Psyche nearly immediately, her beauty shocking him into pricking himself into a devotion to her. He sticks to his quest on the surface as closely as possible, from making it impossible for Psyche’s admirers to actually love her, to convincing her father through an oracle that Psyche must be sacrificed to a monster to appease the gods, and then, when Zephyr whisks her to their new home, keeping his identity from her to both protect himself and keep her unsure. She is cautious and uneasy around him, but submits to his desires and, it seems, does come to trust him an amount. However, over the course of several character-changing trips on her sisters’ parts, she is re-convinced out of their envy that she should find out who exactly she’s sharing a bed with, and if need be, slay him. When she wakes Cupid with oil spilled from the lantern she took to see him, he abandons her in a panic, unsure how to proceed with her betrayal of his request to leave his identity unknown. Distressed that her lover had been Cupid all along, and that she had betrayed a god, she is left to wander and attempt to repair her harms. On her journey she manages to find her sisters, and inform them on the identity of her ex-lover, causing them to desperately throw themselves off a cliff in an attempt to offer themselves to him in Psyche’s place. Psyche happens upon a temple that is in a state of neglect, and straightens everything up summoning its goddess, Ceres, with her thoughtfulness. Ceres tells Psyche she is grateful and recognizes her goodness, but Psyche is led to believe that the only way to relieve herself of Venus’ blame is to serve her, and Venus gladly accepts her servitude, finding it an opportunity to send the girl on impossible and cruel trials. Psyche still miraculously accomplishes them, though not without a lot of abuse and thoughts of suicide hanging over her head, and on the course of her adventures gains the favor of several gods. Cupid helps her in the last stretch, when she is magically put to sleep and his injury has healed, then brings his situation to Jupiter, who approves and sanctifies their union, so Psyche is raised to godhood.
Terezi’s project will outline Psyche’s innermost insecurities and anxieties, as well as coming to terms with her current truth and the fact that she is worth something, proven foremost by Cupid’s love.
PSYCHE by Terezi Velasco
Directed by Sara Judge
Staged Reading on October 6, 2018, at The EXIT Theatre
Valmina May (Psyche)
Terezi Velasco is a (recently-turned) 18-year-old former theatre student and current theatre child, due to having two parents with involvement in the Fine Arts. This is their first written piece for a public forum, though they’ve maintained an interest in writing and performing for most of their life. Their interest in directing debuted when they were assigned to boss their peers around in a highschool play, and they never let go of that joy. They have insurmountable beef with the Romans, that should have really come up beforehand, but a deep love for all things lovely and terrible in one sitting. Challenging themself to cut the Romans some credit, they come to the Olympians festival with an ode to Psyche, the best and arguably most neglected character in all of shared Roman and Greek mythos.
The image of Psyche was created by Emily C. Martin.