Saturday, June 27, 2020

Doubt Comes In

I've really fallen head over heels in love with Hadestown lately. I've been listening to it for a long time, but as I've had renewed interest in Greek mythology and love musical theatre so much it's scratching both itches for me. I wanted to go see it when I was in New York but it had recently won it's slew of Tonys and the only seats left were in the nosebleeds and for ridiculous prices considering they were restricted view so I left it - which right now I'm feeling regretful of, especially with everything shut down as it is!

Originally this was just going to be Orpheus and Eurydice from the myth, but then I figured why try and fight making them look like their musical counterparts and not just go with it? So I did. Reeve Carney kinda looks like my characters anyway so it's perfect! I tried to combine it with the myth, which is why I gave Orpheus an actual lyre and not the guitar he uses in the musical. I took inspiration from this painting by Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein-Stub, and this painting by Emily Balivet.

My favourite aspect of Hadestown is how it re-characterises these well known figures. Orpheus is quite arrogant in the myth, very sure of himself and his own abilities, and he enters the Underworld with complete certainty that Hades will return Eurydice to him. When he turns back to Eurydice it's with a triumphant air of "I did it!" before he realises that Eurydice isn't in the light yet and so the task is failed. I much prefer the anxious naive Orpheus of the musical, so consumed with self doubt, his journey from optimistically seeing the way the world could be to seeing it the way it is. It makes the tale far more of a tragedy than the original myth for that reason alone because the world beats us all down eventually, as Eurydice knew from the start.

"I'll tell you where the real road lies:
Between your ears, behind your eyes
That is the path to Paradise
Likewise, the road to ruin"

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