I Married the King of the Underworld and My Mom Freaked

This sparkling new musical reimagines the Greek myth of Persephone as an offbeat coming-of-age comedy.

28 thoughts on “I Married the King of the Underworld and My Mom Freaked

  1. I see that every comment that offered any criticism on this play has been deleted… anyone that reads these comments now are going to think that this this play was Shakespeare (it was definitely not). Most of these comments were legitimate critiques of the play regarding the poor chemistry between Persephone and the King of the Underworld. Why is Fringe censoring any sort of negative patron reviews?

  2. Wow. Now my opinion of this show has dropped even further. It wasn’t a good piece of theatre. That’s it. (I wonder if this comment will be “reported” as well.)

  3. I loved the show and was flabbergasted by the comments of “Kat G” and “Cathy.” There’s so much I feel should be said on the subject that I’ve been having a really tough time formulating my thoughts, so I’ve turned to a friend who expresses these ideas more clearly than I can myself. The comments of “Kat G,” seconded by “Cathy,” compel a response because they reflect an invidious distortion of feminism and this is in fact a very feminist play. The commenters are repelled by what they perceive as the “rape-y” [sic] nature of the Hades-Persephone union, arising from the age/power imbalance and the fact that “he is her uncle.” Before anything: If perhaps their personal history has sensitized these commenters so severely that the mere concept of older man/young woman triggers distressing associations of abuse, I am truly sympathetic; – but otherwise, it is time to get beyond those knee-jerk reactions.
    A reason that myths endlessly serve as the basis for new stories is that they’re archetypal, lending themselves to the exploration of myriad possible ways of going through the human journey. However, diverse possibilities cannot be viewed by those who see everything in terms of preconceived ideological categories. Ideologies package the world neatly into binary constructs – categorically bad on one side, categorically good on the other. They furnish one master narrative for all human experience, disallowing any human potentialities not sanctified in that narrative. In this case, the dogmatic definition of certain kinds of male/female relationships as abhorrent can blind one to any alternative narrative – and certainly to the specific story actually being presented on stage.
    First of all: The fact that in the original myth, Hades is Persephone’s uncle is not at all relevant to this musical. These are characters in a play, not you and your Uncle Seymour– they only have existence within the narrow confines of the lines of dialogue allotted them. And within those confines, Hades, king of the Underworld, is no more Persephone’s uncle than I am. He just happens to be the man whom Persephone recognizes as her soul mate, the reification of a vision arising from deep in her own nature, about which she tells the audience in her initial solo (“Beyond the Sun”). The two commenters apparently failed to notice Persephone’s “ ‘I want’ song” (as it’s called in the musical biz) in their ideological horror at the spectacle of older guy/young woman. Moreover, the Hades in this play is unwaveringly respectful and accommodating. It also seems worth reminding ourselves of another fact regarding the “original” Hades and Persephone : in the ancient Greek pantheon the gods’ incestuous linkages, not least between Zeus and Hera, were not deemed problematic – I mean, they’re gods, right? Who else will they marry? — Wait a minute, THEY DON’T EXIST! They are figures of myth, not real people. Their crimes are not something we must import into a re-imagined version.
    The second issue is more critical: The two commenters are denying female agency – women’s capacity to act and make choices. This musical is fundamentally about Demeter and Persephone claiming their own power: Demeter challenges Zeus and then Hades, and Persephone insists on her own destiny, one that affirms the legitimacy of both her mother and Hades as genuine aspects of herself (“you’re both part of me”). Women have a right to choose whom to love – woman, man, older, younger, powerful, powerless — and not be accused of false consciousness if their choice does not comply with the politically correct checklist. As Persephone famously demands, “Why is everyone telling me what I want? Why doesn’t anyone ask me?” Further, the commenters insist on casting women as victims. Who has the right to tell a woman that she is oppressed because her choice flouts the sanctioned formula? Each time we encounter a young woman with an older/more powerful man, should we swoop in to denounce the coupling as tainted with the stench of abuse? Such thinking comes of being locked into an “us vs them” paradigm. To quote the heroine again, “I don’t need to be rescued” – a sentiment shared by many truly liberated women. This proto-feminist Persephone rejects Demeter’s fearful belief that all men are “just like Zeus is”; she asserts her freedom to decide for herself. No one has the right to pronounce a woman’s relationship with an older/powerful man a revolting affront to feminism, any more than anyone has the right to say that a black woman is a traitor to her race, or a Christian to her community, if she marries a white or a Muslim. Not every May-December relationship is an instance of vile male predation (note: refer to the press release on the show’s website for a specifically relevant case in point.) An automatic assumption that exploitative power dynamics befoul all such relations is as distorting as any other fanaticism — and as crippling. In short: ideological categories can be forces of repression rather than liberation. Those kinds of categories should be outgrown – they themselves represent a tyranny from which authentic feminism should help liberate us.

  4. Well, I just clicked on this website for the pleasure of rereading the eloquent, insightful patron reviews, when I stumbled on the two negative ones, to which, I’m afraid, I feel compelled to respond. They reflect an invidious distortion of feminism that really pushes my buttons, because this is in fact a very feminist play. I’m the director, the Fringe is over, and I’m going to indulge myself.
    The two commenters are outraged and disgusted at what they perceive as the “rape-y” [sic] nature of the Hades-Persephone union, arising from the age/power/experience imbalance and the fact that “he is her uncle.” Before anything: If perhaps their personal history has sensitized these commenters so severely that the mere concept of older man/young woman triggers distressing associations of abuse, I am truly sympathetic ; – but otherwise, it is time to get beyond those knee-jerk reactions.
    A reason that myths endlessly serve as the basis for new stories is that they’re archetypal, lending themselves to the exploration of myriad possible ways of going through the human journey. However, new insights are shut out if one only sees things in terms of preconceived ideological categories. Ideologies package the world into binary opposites – categorically bad on one side, categorically good on the other. The binary universe disallows any human potentialities not sanctified in one master narrative. In this case, an ideology that dogmatically imputes evil dynamics to certain male/female relationships can blind one to any possibilities outside of its own rigid binaries – and certainly to the specific story actually being presented on stage.
    First of all: The fact that in the original myth, Hades is Persephone’s uncle is not at all relevant to this musical. These are characters in a play, not you and your Uncle Seymour– they only have existence within the narrow confines of the lines of dialogue allotted them. And within those confines, Hades, king of the Underworld, is no more Persephone’s uncle than I am. He just happens to be the man whom Persephone recognizes as her soul mate, the reification of a vision arising from deep in her own nature, about which she tells the audience in her initial solo (“Beyond the Sun”). The two commenters apparently failed to notice Persephone’s “ ‘ I want’ song” (as it’s called in the musical biz) in their ideological horror at the spectacle of older guy/young woman. Moreover, the Hades in this play is unwaveringly respectful and accommodating. It also seems worth reminding ourselves of another fact regarding the “original” Hades and Persephone : in the ancient Greek pantheon the gods’ incestuous linkages, not least between Zeus and Hera, were not deemed problematic – I mean, they’re gods, right? Who else will they marry? — Wait a minute, THEY DON’T EXIST! They are figures of myth, not real people. Their hi-jinks are not represented as normative.
    The second issue is more critical: The two commenters are denying female agency – women’s capacity to act and make choices. Our musical is fundamentally about Demeter and Persephone claiming their own power: Demeter challenges Zeus and then Hades, and Persephone insists on her own destiny, one that affirms the legitimacy of both her mother and Hades as genuine aspects of herself (“you’re both part of me”). Women have a right to choose whom to love – woman, man, older, younger — and not be accused of false consciousness if their choice does not comply with the politically correct checklist. As our Persephone famously demands, “Why is everyone telling me what I want? Why doesn’t anyone ask me?” Further, the commenters insist on casting women as victims. Who has the right to tell a woman that she is oppressed because her choice flouts the sanctioned formula? Each time we see an older man/ young woman on the street, should we swoop down to denounce the coupling as tainted with the stench of abuse? Such thinking comes of being locked into an “us vs them” paradigm. To quote our heroine again, “I don’t need to be rescued” – a sentiment shared by many truly liberated women. Our proto-feminist Persephone rejects Demeter’s fearful belief that all men are “just like Zeus is”; she asserts her freedom to decide for herself. No one has the right to pronounce a woman’s relationship with an older/powerful man a revolting affront to feminism, anymore than anyone has the right to say that a black woman is a traitor to her race, or a Christian to her community, if she marries a white or a Muslim. Not every May-December relationship is an instance of vile male predation (I would refer the commenters to the press release found on our website for a specifically relevant case in point.) An automatic assumption that exploitative power dynamics befoul all such relations is as distorting as any other fanaticism — and as crippling. In short: ideological categories can be forces of repression rather than liberation. Those kinds of categories should be outgrown – they themselves represent a tyranny from which authentic feminism should help liberate us.

  5. We very much enjoyed seeing this new musical work performed at Fringe.
    It was well cast and had excellent performances by all , with humour mingled throughout. Standouts for us were Zeus (very talented and had everyone laughing) and Persephone (beautiful voice, well acted). Thoroughly enjoyed!

  6. I’m in the minority here, but I didn’t like it. It started off strong with a great, funny number, but it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be! Instead of maintaining the humour, it veered into very serious, melodramatic performances and meh solo numbers from the lead, who had the weakest voice by far. Also, the actor who played Hades (presumably cast for his amazing-yet-inappropriate-for-the-context singing voice) was much older than the actor who played Persephone; this did not exactly dispel the rape-y aspects of the original myth, which is what they were going for. The age difference alone is not so much the issue; the power dynamics are. Hades is one of the three most powerful gods whereas Persephone has no “job” and had been raised on Earth in ignorance. It was like watching a teenage college student get seduced by her decades older professor. Better casting could have de-emphasized this. As it was, it was pretty hard to forget that Hades is her uncle, which is necessary if you’re going to buy this as a romance.

    • I 100% agree with you. As well as being awkwardly staged, with poorly written dialogue, it had no idea what it wanted to be.

  7. What I particularly loved about this show, aside from the beautiful music and witty lyrics, is the subtle way it explores different models of being a woman in relationship to males. It is SO refreshing to come across what is essentially a feminist story that does NOT beat you over the head with yet another heavy-handed message about women being the victims of men. This show actually embodies a very sophisticated exploration with a masterfully light and graceful touch. On her journey to mature love, Persephone encounters a number of alternatives: her traumatized mother opting (at first) for total avoidance, then Aphrodite focused on lust, Medusa ruthlessly destroyed for her independence, Hera “enjoying” her role as Queen but locked into a pitched battle with her philandering husband. Persephone’s resolution comes with the assertion of her own selfhood — which is itself facilitated by Demeter’s embracing her own power. As a feminist, I am so tired of polemical tracts dressed up as art. I love how this show avoids didactic browbeating — instead, it offers a wonderful, positive, joyous portrayal of a young woman successfully negotiating the challenges of achieving a mature love relationship — indeed, of becoming herself. This would be a wonderful show for young women to see! Bravo to playwright Adi Sara Kreindler!

  8. I Married the King of the Underworld and My Mom Freaked – This is a wonderful Fringe Musical by a truly gifted local Composer/Lyricist Adi Sara Kreindler. It has exceptional music, singing and acting and choreography. It is historical, allegorical, mythological and hysterical (frolicking fun that is) and pertinent to solving world problems this very day! I heartily recommend this show to all. Sincerely, Joy Murphy

  9. This was my first time “ Fringing” thoroughly enjoyed this show. Great venue, creative and clever take of this Greek mythology story. The songs were hilarious and really helped to develop the characters. Again really enjoyed the show!

  10. I highly recommend that you see the very talented and creative Sara Kreindler’s production of I Married the King of the Underworld and My Mom Freaked. It will not only provide you with a review of Greek mythology (which is, of course, very relevant to the understanding of the origins of western culture and today’s eco-social health concepts) but it will also help you to understand the historic roots of today’s insecure male narcissistic leaders (spoiler – the highest god living in Olympus is wearing a MOGA red hat). If this all sounds too academic and serious, don’t worry. There is also a love story, mother/daughter adjustment to individuation, and many other things. It is also full of an eclectic mix of music and literary genres, clever lyrics, humour, and complex, but accessible songs – all brilliantly accompanied on keyboard by the composer herself, modestly hidden in the (dark underworld?) background.
    And you can bring your whole family; the script is very subtle.
    I saw the 10:45 pm show last evening – and stayed awake for the whole thing!
    There are only two more shows – Thursday 3:45 pm and Sunday at 6:00 pm.
    Enjoy…unless, of course, you don’t like this kind, in which case as my mother said “Try it. You’ll like it!”

  11. This is a musical in the mode of the great classical Broadway musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Lowe. A sparkling number for the whole cast opens the show, and humour abounds throughout. However, underneath the humour there is some serious psychological exploration: the inevitable sacrifices that are the cost of asserting your own identity, learning find beauty where the more conventionally minded remain oblivious and, above all, the pain that is intertwined with joy when as one grows from infatuation into deep, sacrificial love for another. Not surprisingly, these more serious themes evoke some very moving ballads; however, they are also expressed by a couple of very witty numbers – where nevertheless the smile on the mouth cannot hide the tear growing in the eye. Great performances by a strong cast, including Manitoba Opera regular who finally gets to show off his rich bass-baritone as the leading man. This journey to hell and back is well worth the trip!

  12. Fantastic musical! Very entertaining with a wonderful cast of characters. Great to see such a talented Winnipeg crew. Don’t miss it!

  13. Outstanding performance by the cast and the writing and music was wonderful. Zeus was awesome. Had the best lines in the whole show and he brought it down wonderfully.
    A MUST see. Kudos to all involved

  14. What a fun show! Good music and acting, excellent voices and very clever lyrics. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and am still chuckling about some of the lines. Don’t miss it.

  15. This show was an absolute delight! The writer/composer is supremely talented with a broad repertoire of musical style although she particularly shines in those numbers that showcase a formidable wit and sense of whimsy. This is a very funny show! The lyrics are in turn witty/hilarious and beautiful/touching and the music follows suit.

    The cast is remarkably gifted – every single one of them. The play is brilliantly directed. I have only one criticism; the writer/composer and the director need to join the cast at the end to receive their well-deserved applause. I rarely write any kind of review and have never written one for a fringe play.

    Do not pass this one up!

  16. This is a “must-see” show. The voices are fabulous (especially Sam Plett and David Watson), the lyrics are clever and there are moments of hilarity. Extremely well acted. Adi Sara Kreindler is an extremely talented woman…she composed all of the music as well as setting the libretto. (She also played the piano for the production.) I look forward to her future offerings!

  17. Wpg peeps: The fringe play, “I Married the King of the Underworld and My Mom Freaked” is EXCELLENT! I don’t make a lot of recommendations as people have busy lives and we live in our bubbles. To be honest, I do not have high expectations for fringe plays but this one greatly exceeded my expectations! Part political satire, part Greek allegory, this musical production is modern and hilarious! Who knew we had such amazing local talent! Full disclosure: a friend from Queen’s Law is the lead. Way to go Erin-Brie Warwick!!

  18. A spectacular cast delivering a wonderful performance… set to an amazing score.

  19. One of the best fringe shows I have ever seen. The songs are great sung by people with incredible voices. The story line is fun and the cast are all outstanding

  20. A thoroughly entertaining musical involving myth, mirth, music and mayhem. Perfectly cast, incredible voices. Definitely a top choice!

  21. The members of the cast illuminate the stage with unique representations of the gods and delicious renditions of song. Hades (David Watson) fills the concert hall with his beautiful baritone. Zeus (Sam Plett) was a huge audience hit with his Trump-like Zeus. The music is gorgeous, the lyrics incredibly witty, and the show is enormous fun. A must-see.

  22. This show has delightful moments of beauty, wit and inspiration, some fine acting and absolutely gorgeous singing. Judging by audience response, the opening night performance was truly a hit. There is a lot to love about this modern musical myth. Go see the show!

  23. I’m a musical fanatic, and I was just blown away by this local gem. Amazing interweaving of comedy and emotional truth. The wit and satire are tremendously sophisticated while the sense of fun is zany and lighthearted. But most of all, it’s the MUSIC – absolutely gorgeous. Especially one sung by David Watson (Hades) sent chills up my spine, and another by Demeter (Elizabeth Rostoff) left me stunned, plus enchanting Disney-princess ballads by Persephone. Super fun — Sam Plett brought down the house as Zeus, not to mention a remarkable Medusa, and a hilarious Cerberus number. Lyrics are incredibly clever and funny — reminded me of Cole Porter, And the voices, especially Watson and Plett, are phenomenal. Altogether a GREAT start to my Fringe.

  24. Very entertaining and funny. Well acted. I was engaged throughout. Clever lyrics and musical score. High quality singers, the bass especially. It’s a must see. Don’t miss it!!

  25. Wonderful lyrics … very funny. Hilarious allusions (ex. Trump). Nice pipes on rich bass & sweet mezzo. 6 in cast play multiple characters. Great twist on mythological rendition.

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