THE MIDDLE KINGDOM

Synopsis

The Middle Kingdom takes place In the heroic age of Ireland, before the coming of Christianity. It concerns the trials and tribulations of The High King Eochaid as he searches for the one thing to make his kingdom complete, a Queen. After finding Etain, the daughter of a great chieftain, swimming with her maidens in an enchanted lake, the King is so taken by her incredible beauty and grace, he proposes to her right then and there. Although she agrees, not all is as it seems. Soon strange events unravel in a most unexpected way. 

Beyond the fields we know lies Etain's true husband, the otherworldly God Midir, who has spent nearly an age searching disconsolately for his beloved.  After she was cursed by Midir's first wife, Fuamnach and set adrift on the winds of ill luck, Etain was reborn a mortal maid, over a thousand years after her first birth in the otherworld. It is this mortal maid which Midir has come to claim as his own and take back with him. Etain demands proof of Midir's claim and so after completing a serious of impossible tasks set by the King, Midir uses simple trickery and outwits Eochaid into giving up Etain. The lovers are reunited at last and before anyone can stop them, Midir and Etain fly off in the form of two white swans, never to be beholden by the eyes of mortals ever again. 

Dalrymple MacAlpin

"The Middle Kingdom is based upon the early Irish myth, Tochmarc Étaíne, or The Wooing of Étaín. it is preserved in the 12th century Lebor na hUidre, or Book of The Dun Cow, yet was recorded in the Gaelic language roughly dating to the 8th century. I was inspired to bring this lesser known of Irish tales to light after delving into the dramatic works of of the Irish writer, W. B. Yeats. Before this I had only known of Yeats as a poet, only after I became immersed in his plays and the imagery and purpose they evoked, I set out to write my first play. At the time Yeats was writing for the stage the epic sagas of Ireland were being slowly submerged under the crippling weight of industry and so called progress. Yeats, along with his contemporaries of the time, began not only safeguarding the literary treasures of their nation, they breathed new life into the pages of history and heralded a new dawn for the Celtic spirit. 

So lest these stories fall into the unintelligible fragmentary wayside of our current era, I have chosen to continue the tradition of keeping myth alive and so have dedicated my first play to the lasting memory of William Butler Yeats." 

Dramatis Personæ

Etain - Born between two worlds, Etain is wife to both the mortal High King of Ireland, Eochaid and the otherworldly God Midhir.

Midir - An Otherworldly being of great noble bearing, son of the Dagda of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Eochaid Feidlech - The High King of Ireland, his name translates as The enduring one. Father to Queen Medb.

Ailill - Brother to the High King Eochaid.

Fuamnach - Sorceress of The Tuatha Dé Danann. First wife of Midir and rival of Etain. 

Amergin mac Eccit - Court poet & harper to the High King Eochaid.

Aos sí  - The otherworldly inhabitants of Ireland who assist in various magical labors throughout the play. 

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