Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. On October 31, the Carrboro High auditorium transforms into the Underworld, continuing a tradition as old as the school itself.
The event is a presentational tour during which attendees will see Latin students portray various mythological characters.
Former Latin teacher Sara Clay launched the Underworld to teach students about the mythologies that inspired modern storytelling. Since 2007, the event has contemporaneously educated non-Latin students and showcased the Latin classes’ knowledge and creativity.
Seniors Ben Gerhardt and Sophie Wise, Latin Club co-presidents, organized the Underworld for their second consecutive year. Both hold fond memories of their first Underworld—Gerhardt played Hades, god of the Underworld, and Wise played Tiresias, the blind prophet.
“I remember it was just so much fun to see everyone get really excited,” said Gerhardt. “Sometimes with these group events, people come in and are talking or on their phones, but people really engaged; [the presentations] start so quickly that people just get sucked into it.”
According to Wise, Latin students spend at least a month preparing for the event. Students create a list of characters but remain flexible, adding more characters to account for students’ interests. Once students know whom they’ll portray, they write short scripts.
Students rehearse during lunch before creating a set for the Underworld.
“After a few rehearsals, we decorate with dark cloths, several different rivers and the gates,” said Gerhardt.
Though the process is the same overall, Gerhardt outlines one key difference in this year’s performances: Latin students will hold an additional tour for ESL students. According to Gerhardt, the presentation will involve more conversation and less presentation.
The co-presidents sent an email invitation to teachers in early October, encouraging teachers to register their first- through fourth-period classes. They concluded their email with a suggestion for all students.
Said Gerhardt and Wise, “attendees are encouraged to bring a penny for admittance as this mirrors the practice of being admitted into the actual Underworld.”