The play Orpheus by Kenneth McLeish is a Twenty First century interpretation of the ancient myth of Orpheus. In this new version, Orpheus imagines he is gifted with magical powers and believes he can bring his lover back to life. Failure of this feat threatens his faith in both art and God.
The start of the play gives space to Demeter, who explains the story of the seasons, and how the loss of her child 'Kore' created the changing of the seasons, and how she created the land, Mother Earth. The play is created as a 'tale to be told' and that the audience has been gathered to hear this tale and learn by it. Demeter and her nephew Dionysos argue to whether the tale should be told and at whose expense it is really at. Demeter and Dionysos both make a style of a prediction to how the story will end, and sets up to who will win this prediction and who will lose it.
The play deals with loss, and in this case the loss of a loved one, and shows how Orpheus deals with this, and the lengths he will go to rescue his loved one (Eurydike) and bring her back from the world of the dead. Death, the way it is represented in Homer's book, The Odyssey, is always caused by human error. Whether their death was caused by greed, selfishness, or just being curious, many people died in The Odyssey. And it is the same with Orpheus, the death of Eurdike was caused by the lust of Orpheus's cousin Aristaios towards Eurydike and through the curiosity of Orpheus to whether she was behind him on the return from the Underworld.