Reflections on Hadestown
by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist
We have many figures of speech in our language that refer to hell:
- “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
- “Going to hell in a handbasket.”
- “Heaven doesn’t want me, and hell is worried I’ll take over.” (That one has been ascribed, perhaps erroneously, to Rudy Giuliani.)
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the new Broadway musical Hadestown, in which there is actually a train to hell. (MBTA riders will understand.) I was struck by the show’s contradictory appeal. While the script frankly admits that the story is sad, the message is nevertheless one of unyielding hope. How is that possible? The story and the outcome, based on Greek myth, are totally predictable. So how does the script manage to convey a message of unwavering hope? And why, by the final curtain, had comparisons to the world of education become unavoidable, at least to me?