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.
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.