Calem Simone’s production of Herakles should be considered a resounding success. It uses all the tools at its disposal to cut to the raw center of tragedy. As much as we like to consider ourselves ironic post-Enlightenment children, more sentimental than naive, anyone who has suffered for a cause and then been made himself to suffer unjustly will sympathize with the hero. As Roberto Calasso writes, “[Herakles] deserves the compassion of the moderns because he was one of the last victims of the Zodiac. And the moderns no longer really appreciate what that means. They are no longer in the habit of calculating a man’s deeds in terms of the measures of the heavens…. [F]or [Herakles], everything is obligation. …A pitiful seriousness weighs him down. All too rarely does he laugh. And sometimes he finds himself having to suffer the laughter of others.” This seriousness is the limit to the myth of Herakles, as it is of all cliché.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor