When one steps into the theatre, there’s an unspoken agreement to suspend disbelief, to let the world of the stage envelop you. Walking into the National Arts Centre to watch Broadway Across Canada’s Hadestown, my disbelief was suspended, mostly because unlike previous shows I’ve seen, I had no background about this play. I was armed with little more than curiosity. And as the final notes faded and the curtains descended, I found myself in a contemplative trance, thinking, “Well, I’m still not really sure what that was about?” But isn’t that the beauty of art? It doesn’t hand you answers on a silver platter but nudges you to seek them, to question, to reflect.
What is the story of Hadestown?
At its core, Hadestown is a retelling of the age-old Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. But to label it just that would be an injustice. The narrative, while rooted in mythology, felt eerily reminiscent of our world today. Themes of climate change and capitalism echoed in lines like, “Lover, you were gone so long… So I built a foundry… With the fossils of the dead.” And it was hard not to draw parallels with our own societal struggles when Hades, with his dictatorial vibes, sings of building walls, a not-so-subtle nod to a certain orange-hued leader of the past.
Why is it so good?
I suspect part of the reason Hadestown has endured and captivated audiences around the world, is that depending on the person watching it, the message delivered will be different. For me, the dynamics between Hades and Persephone tugged at my heartstrings. Their relationship, once filled with passion and love, now seemed to be a mere shadow of its former self, highlighting the complexities of relationships and the bitterness that can seep into unions that once thrived on love. Then there’s Orpheus and Eurydice, the star-crossed lovers. Their tale, while tragic, is a testament to the power of love and the lengths one would go to for it. Yet, it also embodies the insecurities that even the most passionate love stories aren’t immune to. Their journey, filled with hope, despair, and longing, is one that resonates with many, reminding us of the fragility of love and the external forces that often test it. And damn you Orpheus, why did you have to look back?
What is the meaning of the play Hadestown?
But what struck me the most was the universality of its message. The tale, though ancient, felt so… now. It’s a testament to the fact that while times change, the essence of humanity, our fears, desires, and battles, remain constant. Hadestown serves as a mirror. It reflects our world, our struggles, our joys, and our fears. It’s a reminder of the cyclical nature of life, of history repeating itself, of the age-old battles that continue to rage on.
Of course, the musical score of Hadestown deserves a special mention. A harmonious blend of rhythm and blues, it’s nothing short of intoxicating. The melodies sway you, move you, and before you know it, you’re lost in its rhythm, much like Orpheus’ enchanting lyre.
In conclusion, Hadestown is not just a musical; it’s an experience, a journey that compels introspection. It’s a masterful blend of storytelling, music, and performance that leaves an indelible mark on the soul. Playing at the NAC until the 27th of August, this is one show you wouldn’t want to miss. Trust me, you’ll be thinking about it long after the final bow, and perhaps, like me, you’ll find yourself delving into the rich tapestry of Greek myths, seeking answers, seeking reflections.