|André De Shields in "Hadestown."|
Christmas has pagan roots, in holidays designed to illuminate the darkness of winter and keep the gathering cold at bay with the warmth of love and celebration.
Which can be tough to manage in the best of times. Our COVID-19 Christmas, with so many people isolated, careers wrecked, bank accounts emptied, is even harder.
You need a light to guide you.
On top of everything, 2020 has been almost entirely devoid of live performance: no concerts, no theater. Unless you were lucky enough to catch one at the beginning of the year, and I was. Singer Anaïs Mitchell took the ancient legend of Orpheus and Eurydice and turned it into a thoughtful musical, “Hadestown.” Last February, just before the world shut down, my wife and I met our boys in New York City and we saw it on Broadway.
In the tale, lovely Eurydice goes down to Hell to live with Hades, king of the underworld, and her lover Orpheus tries to bring her back, with a helping hand from Persephone, Hades’ wife. Her absence brings the winter; her return, the spring.
The star of the show is veteran Broadway actor André De Shields, and he has one line that kept returning to my mind as the days grew shorter, colder and grimmer.
“The world ... came back ... to life!”
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