Memphis is agog over Hamilton this week, but I ended up at Hadestown on Broadway instead. Tennessee Shakespeare Company has an annual gala fundraiser every year, and the grand prize is a raffle for a trip to Broadway. I had one one book from the old Pinocchio’s Bookstore when I was maybe in 3rd grade, but otherwise I’ve never won a raffle. Apparently I was saving it up for something big. The prize was a trip to New York, two nights there, a fancy dinner out, and one Broadway show (not something as hard to get as Hamilton). I had recently seen Sarah Ruhl’s version of Euridyce and was transfixed by her retelling, so (without Shakespeare being really on offer during the summer tourist season), I chose Hadestown, a different retelling of the Orpheus and Euridyce myth in the form of a folk opera. It was also marvelous. Not as deeply thoughtful as Ruhl’s version, which I’m still really mulling over a year later, but a wonderful take nonetheless. It paired that couple with Hades and Persephone. The music was overall good, the dancing and choreography amazing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to see it again. My favorite was Hermes, an older gentlemen who looks like he walked straight off of Beale Street. My favorite thing about the play, and what is sticking with me, is the way it walks full tilt into tragedy, lets us mourn, and picks all of us up and says we keep singing the song, telling the story, and trying again.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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