Fierce and powerful, Ereshkigal is the ancient Sumerian goddess ruling the underworld. Her younger sister, Inanna, is the radiant goddess of earth and sky. Inanna descends to visit Ereshkigal, who humbles Inanna and then kills her, hanging her corpse on a pole for 3 days and nights. Prompted by her servant, Inanna’s grandfather, the god of wisdom, creates rescuers for her. When they sympathize with Ereshkigal in her agonies, she grants them a boon. They request the corpse of Inanna, and they resuscitate her, so that she may return to the world above.

Writer Cynthia Hussey talks about her play exploring Ereshkigal: “I love goddesses of death and destruction and transformation. I have long loved the “Descent of Inanna,” an ancient Sumerian sacred poem, which I first read years ago (not in the original Sumerian, alas). I especially loved the fierce power of Ereshkigal, and her relationship with her sister, Inanna. They are bound to each other as kin, and yet Ereshkigal kills her very own sister, though she does eventually relent and release her. I want to invoke that destruction and transformation in a modern setting.”

ERESHKIGAL, or THE DESCENT by Cynthia Hussey
Directed by Cynthia Hussey
Staged Reading on October 11, 2017 at the EXIT Theatre

Debra J. Harvey (Doris)

Jennifer McNeal (Daisy)

Mythology has fascinated Cynthia Hussey since she was 9 years old. “I love the rich tapestry of personalities, imagery, and stories. I wrote my first mythological play in 7th grade, which I performed with my fellow students as part of a literature class assignment.” In high school, she frequently convinced the U.S. history teacher to allow her to substitute plays for papers, presenting the views of various historical figures in dramatic discussions, performed by her and other classmates, for the benefit of the class (and the amusement of the teacher). After getting a BA in music at Mills College, she earned an MFA in production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she studied writing, among all the elements of film and television production. Out of 200 contestants, she was one of five finalists in a Sherwood Oaks Film School writing contest at the Screenwriting Expo in Los Angeles. She is a ProSeries alumna of Screenwriting U, as well as a member of the writer’s workshop of Ken Rotcop, who is an award-winning writer, and was the creative head of 4 different movie studios in his 40-year career. She has written 10 television spec scripts and 4 spec features, one of which is currently with a producer seeking financing for it.

The image of Ereshkigal was created by Nathan Anderson.