A musical adaptation of Plato’s “Symposium,” set in a mythical 1930s New York.
Book by Murray Ross, Mark Arnest and Lauren Arnest
Lyrics by Lauren Arnest, Mark Arnest and Murray Ross
Music by Mark Arnest
The lights go up on Agathon’s very elegant Manhattan penthouse, decorated in Greek revival style: tile floor, reclining couches, columns, and a view from the window overlooking Athens/New York. The guests enter during the hangover music, shunning the proffered cocktails. They are all wearing tuxedos, except Agathon, who wears a smoking jacket.
It’s the night after an awards ceremony in which Agathon was honored as best dramatic playwright. Pausanias, Phaedrus, Aristophanes, and Eryximachus – the creme de la creme of high society, plus the famous philosopher Socrates – meet at Agathon’s penthouse. Hung over from last night’s festivities, they decide not to drink and instead to entertain each other with conversation (alas, they will not stick to their resolution, and everyone but Socrates will be good and schnockered be the evening’s end). Eryximachus proposes a contest in which each of them will speak about love.
The youthful Phaedrus begins with the cheerful “Wherever Love Goes,” in which he proposes that love makes us better than we would otherwise be, because lovers want to appear honorable to their beloveds.