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Summary

Award winning classic stories from Greek mythology, reimagined by Simon Armitage and Linda Marshall Griffiths—plus bonus material.

With their epic tales of gods, heroes, magic and monsters, the Greek myths have thrilled us for more than 2,000 years and inspired countless adaptations. Now, in this captivating collection, two award-winning playwrights bring their own fresh, contemporary takes to the famous legends of Odysseus, Orpheus and Eurydice.

Simon Armitage's Missing Presumed Dead: The Odyssey weaves together Homeric myth and modern-day politics, as a senior politician with a colourful past is sent on a diplomatic mission to Istanbul, only to find himself at the centre of an international incident. On the run from the authorities, he is plunged into the ancient past where his Odyssey begins, as he contends with supernatural beings and unnatural phenomena from the Cyclops and Circe to Sirens, storms and shipwreck. Will he survive and get back home? Meanwhile, in the present day, his wife and son are besieged by the press, desperate to hear the full story.... This gripping dramatisation stars Colin Tierney as Smith/Odysseus.

In two linked plays, with a four-minute introduction by Simon Armitage, he and Linda Marshall Griffiths each give their versions of the tragedy of Orpheus and his doomed bride. Armitage's Eurydice and Orpheus: Her Story tells the tale of two lovers—lab technician Sanna and busking musician Zak—and a harp that will have a profound, irreversible effect on both their lives. Claire Price stars as Sanna, with Bryan Dick as Zak. And in Orpheus and Eurydice: His Story, by Linda Marshall Griffiths, grief-stricken singer Orfeo journeys into the Underworld to bring back his dead wife, Eurydice. But is love stronger than death if a backward glance can destroy everything? Starring Nico Mirallegro as Orfeo and Emily Taaffe as Eurydice, and with music by PJ Harvey, this moving drama won the Grand Prix Marulic in 2016.

Also included is a bonus extract from Radio 4's Start the Week, in which Simon Armitage talks to Anne McElvoy about his dramatisation of Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid, The Last Days of Troy.

Cast and credits:

Missing Presumed Dead: The Odyssey

Cast: Colin Tierney, Simon Dutton, Polly Frame, Susie Trayling, Lee Armstrong, Roger Evans, David Hartley, Ranjit Krishnamma, Chris Reilly, Sule Rimi, Danusia Samal.

Written by Homer. Adapted by Simon Armitage.

Originally directed for the stage by Nick Bagnall and co-produced by The Liverpool Everyman and the English Touring Theatre. Directed by Susan Roberts. Music composed by James Fortune.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 24th April-1st May 2016.

Eurydice and Orpheus: Her Story

Cast: Claire Price, Bryan Dick, Jonathan Keeble, Alexandra Mathie, Stephen Fletcher.

Written by Simon Armitage. Produced by Susan Roberts.

With music composed by PJ Harvey. Harpist: Jon Banks.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21st September 2015.

Orpheus and Eurydice: His Story

Cast: Nico Mirallegro, Emily Taaffe, Jonathan Keeble, Alexandra Mathie, Stephen Fletcher.

Written by Linda Marshall Griffiths. Directed by Nadia Molinari.

With music composed by PJ Harvey.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 22nd September 2015.

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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