Tonight at 5 pm EST on Zoom: Meet Persephone, the Unhappy Wife of Hades

In tonight’s performance of HERCULES IN HELL, Hercules tells his own life story shortly after his death. Where does he do this? In the Underworld, a place he is shocked to find himself.

Of course, Persephone, Queen of the Dead, despises her husband Hades. Trapped in the Underworld with him, she longs for news of the living world. And so when Hercules, freshly dead, drops down before her, she won’t let him proceed to his final resting place on Mt. Olympus until Hercules tells both her and her husband his life story.

This is Odds Bodkin’s dramatic setting for the myth of Hercules, a storytelling work originally commissioned by The Art Institute of Chicago for an exhibition of Greek art.

Here’s a sample:

 

Hercules is reluctant to tell his story, because his life tallies just as many foul murders as glorious acts, but he tells it anyway, just to be able to leave. Does he give the full truth, or just his point of view? In places it’s hard to tell. Nevertheless, in his huge, deep voice, as Bodkin plays 12-string guitar, Hercules begins his story:

“My mother, Alcmene, loved my mortal father Amphitryon, but she would not have him in her bed until he’d avenged the deaths of her brothers, so while he was away, Zeus came to mother, disguised as Amphitryon, and fathered me. So who is my father? Zeus, yes. But I’ve never met him. Some father he is. No, it was Amphitryon who raised me…”

Thusly, the conversation between Hades, Persephone and Hercules unfolds. It’s about a man who cannot control his temper, a bad thing when you’re the strongest man in the world.

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Odds Bodkin won the prestigious Golden Headset Award for Best Audio when he released his epic Hercules recording into the storytelling world. Now you can watch him tell it, live and up close, as he Zooms the show from his studio in New Hampshire.

Tonight! Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5 pm EST. Join the crowd who have bought tickets. If after the show you have a question, Odds will answer it over ZOOM. It’s all live, sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. Kari Kuelzer, the owner, will MC the show and moderate questions.

Special thanks to Abigail Taylor, Katie LaBrie and Gavin Bodkin.

HERCULES IN HELL

TONIGHT, Oct 18 at 5 pm EST on ZOOM

Tickets: $15

Tomorrow Night, Masterful Adult Storytelling on ZOOM. The Greek Myth of Hercules

 

THE PROFESSOR’S OPINION

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our (college) students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful. We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better. They loved the fact that they could see his face up close and watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp.”

–Professor Joseph Walsh, Chair, Department of Classics at Loyola University Maryland after a Zoom appearance last month.

TOMORROW NIGHT, Sunday Oct. 18th at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time

Odds Bodkin goes to work.

Powerful, distinct character voices and 12-string guitar bring his hour-long tale to life.

No Hollywood sugar-coating, just a beautiful, epic Greek myth. Adventure. Tragedy. Humor. Love. Final transcendence.

 

HERCULES IN HELL

5 pm EST on Zoom

A $15 ticket on Eventbrite buys you a URL and password for the show.

Go BIG SCREEN for best viewing.

Hear a sample of the story:

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA

THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: Poisoned Arrows and a Great Mistake

During his second labor–slaying the Hydra–Hercules dips his arrows in the dead monster’s blood. His arrows become super-weapons. The slightest scratch means instant death.

Years later, he finds himself in the cave of Pholus, an old centaur. Although “never trust a centaur” is an adage Hercules usually follows, in Pholus’ case, Hercules decides to stay and dine. He asks for wine along with the meat.

“Oh, no, no, no!” Pholus shakes his head. “I’ve got it, but can’t open it.”

“Why not?” growls Hercules.

“The other centaurs. They’ll smell it. Go mad with the smell of wine. Come here. Kill you.”

“If they try that, they’ll regret it. Besides, they’ll never smell it. Open the wine, Pholus.” As usual, Hercules is traveling with his lion’s skin, his club and his arrows poisoned with Hydra blood.

Scared, Pholus opens the wine and soon the thunder of hoofs approaches the cave. Centaurs charge in and attack Hercules and Pholus cries, “No! Run you fools! It’s Hercules! He’ll kill you all! Run!”

But they’ve gone mad and Hercules reluctantly clubs many to death, and shoots others with his arrows. Astounded that arrows can kill a centaur instantly, Pholus picks one up.

“Don’t touch that, Pholus! It’s Hydra blood!”

Startled, the old centaur drops the arrow and it scratches his leg. He gives Hercules a look he can never forget and then crumples down and dies.

Hercules doesn’t yet know it, but in the end, the blood of the Hydra will kill him, too.


Join Odds Bodkin this coming Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST and hear this episode, along with many others, from his award-winning telling, HERCULES IN HELL. The show is live and the storyteller will stay after the show to answer your questions. If you don’t have Zoom, the download is free.

Here’s an audio sample from the show:

HERCULES IN HELL

A ZOOM adult concert

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $15 per screen

 

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

 

THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: The Augean Stables

Eurystheus, King of Mycenae, Hercules’ weak cousin, has been granted control over him by Zeus and the Fates. Hercules must perform labors–anything his cousin asks. Slavery was common in ancient Greece where Greek slaves from conquered towns worked the fields and mines, and cleaned up animal dung. And so when Eurystheus tells Hercules to go clean the filthy stables of King Augeas of Elis, the hero is enraged, but he has no choice.

Upon seeing the years of cow dung piled up to the rafters beneath acres of stables, Hercules’ heart sinks. He must do it in one day. He calculates it will take the shoulders of ten thousand men to do the job. He’s fast, but not that fast. It seems impossible.

And yet he does it.

 

—————–

Join Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin as he tells this episode and learn how Hercules triumphs in his sixth labor using his wit and strength.

Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5 pm EST on Zoom. The app is free to download if you don’t already have it. With HD sound and video, HERCULES IN HELL is a tour de force of storytelling, scored with powerful, exciting music on 12-string guitar throughout.

An utterly different, magical way to spend a Sunday evening.

TICKETS are $15 per screen.

This is an adult storytelling. Children 12 and up are welcome.

 

This performance is sponsored by Grendel’s Den of Cambridge, MA. A legendary watering hole. Visit them for great food and atmosphere.

THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: Persephone, the Unhappy Wife of Hades

Persephone, Queen of the Dead, despises her husband Hades. Trapped in the Underworld with him, she longs for news of the living. And so when Hercules, freshly dead, drops down before her, she won’t let him proceed to his afterlife on Mt. Olympus until Hercules tells both her and her husband his life story.

This is Odds Bodkin’s dramatic framing for his epic tale, HERCULES IN HELL. It’s coming up soon on Zoom.

Hercules hates telling his story, because his life tallies just as many foul murders as glorious acts, but he tells it anyway, just to be able to leave. And so, in a huge, deep voice, Odds Bodkin takes on the role of Hercules in the first person:

“My mother, Alcmene, loved my mortal father Amphitryon, but she would not have him in her bed until he’d avenged the deaths of her brothers, so while he was away, Zeus came to mother, disguised as Amphitryon, and fathered me. So who is my father? Zeus, yes. But I’ve never met him. Some father he is. No, it was Amphitryon who raised me…”

Odds won the prestigious Golden Headset Award for Best Audio when he released his epic Hercules recording into the storytelling world. Now you can watch him tell it, live and up close, as he Zooms the show from New Hampshire.

Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5 pm EST.

Teens love this story, as well as adults. Odds has even spellbound incarcerated men with this marvel of storytelling. It’s about a man who cannot control his temper, a bad thing when you’re the strongest man in the world.

Grab a $15 ticket and mark the date!

The Zoom concert is sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. Visit them. The food is great. So are the people.

Coming Up Oct. 18: Odds Bodkin’s Zoom Performance of HERCULES IN HELL

 

A Professor of Classics should know what he’s talking about, and Joseph Walsh of Loyola University Maryland certainly does. He and his students experienced an Odds Bodkin Zoom performance just three weeks ago. Here’s what he wrote:

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful. We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better.  They loved the fact that they could see his face up close, watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp, and they thought not a bit of the usual intensity and beauty of his performance was lost.”

Now you can have a front row seat for yet another dynamic telling of a Greek mythology classic, HERCULES IN HELL. This GOLDEN HEADSET AWARD-winning spoken word tale features amazing voices, a score on 12-string guitar, and an exploration of the shocking myth of Hercules. His murders, his labors, his enslavement, his triumphs.

This is an adult storytelling. No children please.

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST on Zoom

Tickets are $15.

 

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den.

PROFESSOR REVIEWS ODDS BODKIN’S UNIVERSITY SHOW ON ZOOM

Joseph Walsh is the current Chair of Classics and Co-Director of the Honors Program at Loyola University Maryland. On September 10, 2020, storyteller Odds Bodkin and Walsh tried an experiment: since the university went completely virtual for Fall, would Bodkin’s annual Classics performance of The Iliad or The Odyssey work on Zoom?

Here is Walsh’s review:

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful. We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better.  They loved the fact that they could see his face up close, watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp, and they thought not a bit of the usual intensity and beauty of his performance was lost.  I agree.  It was just terrific.  Several students said they broke out into applause at the end, even though they knew Odds could not hear them, and a few even said they gave him a standing ovation, though they knew he could not see them.  They were just carried away, as was I.  We were a bit apprehensive about having a zoom performance, but our apprehensions were completely unfounded.  Great performance, as usual, and every bit as impactful.  And it transported our students, who are studying remotely and feeling confined and disappointed with the current circumstances, beyond their homes, beyond these times, and beyond this world.”


Bodkin’s next Zoom performance is yet another of his renowned tellings of Greek myths. Hercules in Hell comes online live on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST. Buy a ticket, get your Zoom invitation, and settle in for an epic imaginative experience.

SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES AND CLUBS MOVING TO ZOOM SHOWS WITH ODDS BODKIN

With all the uncertainly surrounding school openings, Loyola University Maryland has decided to go completely remote. Students won’t be on campus, but to preserve a twelve-year Odds Bodkin September tradition, the Department of Classics has chosen to invite Odds once again, only this time via ZOOM. The performance: THE ILIAD: BOOK I.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, a location in Boston where Odds has regaled adult ticketed audiences for years, wants to preserve the magic. The two shows coming up on ZOOM sponsored by Grendel’s? THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST on September 20th and HERCULES IN HELL on October 18th.

Simonds School in Warner, New Hampshire had to postpone a 2-day GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY residency for K-2 and 3-5 last spring with Odds. But with an HD video and sound ZOOM studio, he’ll be visiting the school anyway. Two performances on full-screen, followed by interactive workshops with the students will take place on September 21st and 22nd.

Yes, there’s a pandemic. Crowds of listeners crammed into big rooms, especially crowds of kids, are problematic these days.

But Odds’ brand of performing arts—always a complete one–man show—doesn’t require a troop of actors onstage, sets or backup musicians. Odds provides all that in his musical storytelling shows. Even Classics and Honors students and their professors at Loyola know that.

If your kids or grandkids go to a school, give them live Odds Bodkin stories by suggesting programs to teachers and principals. Every seat is a front row experience.

To find out more, go here.

GRIEF COUNSELING AND GREEK MYTHS

“I’ve been working with using myths in grief counseling,” she said, “and I was wondering if you know of any Greek myths that might help.”

She was young, seated next to her husband or perhaps boyfriend on a couch in their home. I didn’t know her. She could be anywhere on Earth. I’d just finished telling FALL OF THE TITANS, and she was one of the folks who’d bought a Zoom ticket. This was the Q&A, done live, a new feature.

I scrambled around in my mind and recalled facts from Greek mythology I’d used to explain how the ancient Greeks viewed death. The greatest of warriors went to the Elysian Fields while demigods like Hercules went to Mount Olympus, but these cases were exceedingly rare.

“The Greeks didn’t really have a Hell,” I began. “You know, a place of punishment if you’d been bad in life. Or a heaven, for that matter. Most everybody, kings, queens, all the way down to goatherds–good or bad–went to the Underworld at death. Here, they simply became “shades”, ghosts who remembered their lives but who lost their voices.”

Then I flashed on a scene from THE ODYSSEY, where Odysseus, visiting the Land of the Dead at Circe’s direction, tells his men to slaughter a lamb and fill a hole in the ground with its blood. From the mists emerge shades of famous people he’s known, and he speaks with his dead friend Achilles, but then to Odysseus’s shock and dismay, his mother, Anticlea, whom he did not know was dead, emerges and drinks the lamb’s blood. What she tells him breaks his heart.

It’s almost like a séance.

I didn’t go into all that, but instead flashed on a story from HERCULES I did share with the young woman, where Queen Alcestis, a woman Hercules would have married if she’d not already been married, had taken her own life so that her husband Admetus could live on. Hercules storms down to the Underworld and frightens Hades so badly he lets Alcestis return to life.

“Oh,” I added, “you also might look into how Orpheus harped his way in and out of the Underworld.” It didn’t end well for Orpheus, but he did prove the power of music and love, along with the importance of following directions.

What do I think in these pestilential times? These tales are ancient and universal. Maybe it’s possible to find solace in them. I don’t know. I hope so.

GAIA’S MONSTERS: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s ZOOM Performance this Sunday at 7pm/FALL OF THE TITANS

Up until this point in FALL OF THE TITANS, Gaia the Earth has brought forth perfect human-like children with Ouranos, her husband, Titan of the Sky. She’s given birth to twelve Titan babies in all, each soon in charge of creating an ecosystem.

But this new infant is different. This newborn is a Cyclops, already gigantic as babies go. Even Titan babies.

“I love all my children equally, Ouranos,” Gaia says to horrified Ouranos as she cuddles the one-eyed infant. “And not everything I make is perfect.” She gently pokes the baby’s chest. “Hello, little Arges.” The infant glares at her and then screams like a thousand stabbed goats, even though he’s just been nursed. His Cyclops tummy is full, but still he makes this unnerving sound. It certainly unnerves Ouranos. He has no idea what this means, but it does not bode well.

In a nutshell, here is Gaia, the Earth Mother, the first being of all beings in Greek mythology, or as Ouranos calls her, “Queen of Us All.” Just as with our modern earth, in this fanciful mythological tale, life pours forth from Gaia all across her surface.

Her job is to make life, and in FALL OF THE TITANS, she does so, at times to a fault. She cannot control her fecundity, and she doesn’t really want to because it’s just too important to keep on creating. After all, one of her very first creations is Eros, the attraction between things, which binds the Universe together, and she’s still just as endlessly driven by the lust and love Eros brings as anybody else.

The only difference is, Gaia can create any living thing she likes.

Of any size.

In any form.

She can do it all by herself if she wants to. Ouranos secretly hopes that’s what she just did to create this baby Cyclops.

Maybe he’s not the father, Ouranos thinks. It would be nice if that were true. Maybe she used parthenogenesis, and created this little beast the same way she created Ouranos himself, long ago, from the flesh of her flesh.

He has no idea of the monsters to come.


FALL OF THE TITANS

An Odds Bodkin Virtual Storytelling Event

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square

Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on ZOOM

TICKETS: $15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“DAD, I FIGURED OUT WHY IT TRANSLATES”

I’ve been a full-time professional storyteller since 1982, and in all those years and across all the recordings I’ve made, I only sell one video. It’s of The Iliad: Book I performed live before a high school audience. All the rest are audios, because, well, my business is to urge people to imagine. I use words and music to do it.

When I turn on a screen, however, I don’t want to imagine. I want that to be done for me ahead of time by actors, directors and composers, with scene changes. I want to watch what they’ve imagined, not some talking head. Usually I’m live on a stage a few feet away from a front row of listeners; the audience stretches out behind them, as far as the PA system can send the sound. They listen and imagine. I never thought I’d give that up.

Enter the coronavirus.

No more live audiences, right?

Gavin Bodkin, my entrepreneur middle son who helps run the ultra-cool company called Circular Blu, now in his thirties, has graciously become my Zoom producer as well because—oh, I’ll just say it–he loves me a lot and wants to see me keep performing. I live in an old three-storey house and the attic is pretty big, big enough for an area of it now to have become my new “Zoom Studio.” I’ve done a few shows on full-screen over Zoom, but until the other day remained skeptical it could really work for people.

And so I was shocked when Gavin said, “Dad, I’ve figured out why your Zoom shows translate.”

“Do tell,” I said, wondering if he meant it.

“No, seriously. It’s your eyes.”

Unlike an actor with a fourth wall, as a storyteller I always make eye contact with my audience, an old habit. It builds the storytelling spell. Now, since there’s nobody to look at, I’ve been making eye contact with the camera lens, just a couple of feet away.

Gavin went on. “You’re close up and your eyes are locked onto the camera, even as you’re playing your instruments. I think that’s why it works.” While he’s producing, he watches all the people’s reactions at home. Kids dancing and smiling. Adults laughing, even clapping. I don’t get to see any of that because I’m busy with the art aspect, this photo of me being an ogre who’s holding an imaginary fairy notwithstanding.

“They’re all imagining, dad. I think this whole thing is going to work.”

My next show is coming up this Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on Zoom. I’m working with Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA. It’s early Greek mythology. FALL OF THE TITANS. Tickets are $15. Drop by and let me know afterwards if it translates. There will be a Q&A.

Oh, and no kids, please. It’s an adult show.

A WEEK FROM TODAY: A Zoom Performance Where You Have a Front Row Seat

Enjoy Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS: An Adult Storytelling, on Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm. With Every Ticket to this Zoom Show comes a 25% Discount on Odds Bodkin’s EPIC DRIVE, a goldmine of classic family storytellings.

The EPIC DRIVE includes all of Odds Bodkin’s 18 full-length audio albums, including his classic early recordings, which you’ll soon to be able to find on Siri and Alexa. Regular price: $99.95. Use your code to purchase all the mp3 albums for $74.95!

Plus join a real-time Q&A with Odds after the performance, hosted by Kari Kuelzer of Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, the show’s sponsor. How does Odds Bodkin create his 12-string guitar scores? Where do all those characters come from? Why are Greek myths still a vital element in American education?

Make yourself a Greek meal with some wine, or order a Greek pizza and some beer, and you’re ready for two solid hours of muse-inspired cinematic storytelling.

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

“a modern-day Orpheus”–Billboard

 

FALL OF THE TITANS

An Odds Bodkin Online Event

July 19, 2020 at 7 p.m. EST

Ticket per Screen: $15