“Back to the Divine Comedy” at Ohio State University-Mansfield

“Cast members of ‘Back to the Divine Comedy’ face a bit of pressure. They will be the first in the United States to perform the musical, which is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. ‘Back to the Divine Comedy” is the last main-stage production of the season at the Ohio State University-Mansfield. It will be performed Feb. 28 and 29, as well as March 1 and 2. Creators Paolo Caselli and Claudio Caselli, of Italy, reached out to a number of American universities about doing the show. Joe Fahey, associate professor and director of theater at OSU-M, responded. He is co-directing the show with Lindsay Saltz.”    —Mark Caudill, Mansfield News Journal, February 18, 2020

Journey Through Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell – Led by Sherman Irby

“Last week we introduced you to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s Music of Wayne Shorter and indicated that we’d cover more releases from their label. This installment is a suite of seven movements composed and conducted by the JLCO’s lead alto saxophonist, Sherman Irby, Inferno was performed live in 2012 and captured on this recording. It’s Irby’s interpretation of Dante’s epic 14th-century poem of the same name, which follows the author on his imagined, harrowing journey through the nine circles of Hell. To say it’s incendiary (pardon the reference) completely understates the passion of these performances.

“At the heart of the piece is the horn who plays the central character, the late baritone saxophonist that Irby recalls fondly, ‘I wrote this act for Joe Temperley,’ Irby remarks. ‘He was the band’s elder statesman and musical guide for almost 30 years. It was my honor to feature his beautiful, passionate sound as the voice of the central character, Dante.’ This is not an unusual gesture as bandmate, trombonist Chris Crenshaw says, ‘Sherman cares for his brethren, and he cares about this music, and that goes a long way.’ Besides, featuring his bandmates liberally in solos, (Movement V has six of them for example), this music is intelligent, unique, moody and ultimately swings crazily.” [. . .]    –Jim Hynes, Glide Magazine, February 6, 2020

Contributed by Trey Turney (The Bolles School, ’22)

Downton Abbey Season 3, Episode 8 (2013)

On the ITV drama Downton Abbey, in season three, episode eight, Matthew Crawley says “This is like the outer circle from Dante’s Inferno!” (Downton Abbey, ITV, February 10, 2013)

Contributed by Victoria Nicholls (The Bolles School, ’22)

Lucifer Season 4, Episode 2 – “Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno” (2019)

In season four of the Netflix drama Lucifer, the second episode is titled “Somebody’s Been Reading Dante’s Inferno.” (Lucifer, Netflix, May 8, 2019)

Contributed by Audrey Cheng (The Bolles School, 22′)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S02E09, 2014)


The ninth episode of season 2 of the superhero-spy television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is called “Ye Who Enter Here.” The episode aired on Dec. 2, 2014.

Contributed by Su Ertekin-Taner, The Bolles School ’22

Cheaters, HBO Films (2000)

Cheaters-HBOFilms-2000-Dante-Abandon-Hope[JOLIE] “Pride, that’s what it’s all about. Lucifer was too proud to play runner-up to someone he felt superior to, so he set up his own shop.”

[MR. PLECKI] “And what did Dante say was written on the gates of Lucifer’s shop?”

[JOLIE] “‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here.'”

[UNNAMED GIRL IN CLASS] “That’s what it should say on the door to this school.”

The HBO Films movie Cheaters (2000; dir. John Stockwell) is currently available to view on YouTube here (last accessed February 15, 2020). The quoted exchange happens 3:35-3:52.

Contributed by Sarah Scherkenbach (The Bolles School ’22)

You Season 2, Episode 1 – “A Fresh Start” (2019)

On the Netflix drama You, in the season two premiere “A Fresh Start” the main character Joe/Will says “..if LA is hell, the LA DMV is surely the ninth circle.” (You, Netflix, December 26, 2019)

Contributed by Faeryn Lee (The Bolles School, ’22)

“Observations on Heaven from Dante’s Paradiso That Also Apply to These Stills of Linda Hamilton”

“In a literary and historicist sense, Dante’s Divine Comedy was a multi-volume narrative poem that advanced some notable theological suppositions about the afterlife as well as some hot takes about Italian political and religious figures of the age and also working in some somewhat yikes fantasies about Dante’s crush, Beatrice, and idealized bromance with dead poet Virgil. In a looser, more abstract, in some ways more honest sense, though, Dante’s hysterically adulating depictions of Heaven and his crush Beatrice hanging out in it in Paradiso are also about what a fucking unreal silver fox Linda Hamilton is in the latest Terminator offering, Dark Fate. (Mackenzie Davis gays, you will have your day; this one is mine.)

When Dante was writing about being so overcome with emotion at the luminous landscape of Paradise that he was unable to speak, he may have been originally referencing an extremely specific medieval Catholic spiritual concept — but we have the benefit of centuries of context and wisdom that Dante did not, and can see that in another, more accurate way, they also reference the fact that Linda Hamilton remains an untouchable smokeshow, and is arguably even more of one than when she originally featured as my root in Terminator 2.”    –Rachel, Autostraddle, October 9, 2019

“It’s Art: Resuscitated CPR Dolls & Dante’s Divine Comedy

“Today, we present German artist Thomas Zipp’s September 5, 2014 performance / exhibition, Effects of Stimulus-Range and Anchor Value on Psychophysical Judgement (The Laerdal Rehearsals). In it, Resusci Anne CPR dolls were brought “back to life” to the recorded sounds of a performance of Dante’s Divine Comedy.”    –Emerson Rosenthal, Vice, October 17, 2014

Giovani Artisti per Dante 2018

“Dante: everybody’s or nobody’s, untouchable heritage or living culture? The Festival answers with Young Artists for Dante, the daily events in the Ancient Franciscan Cloisters by the poet’s Tomb, from June the 1st to July the 5th at 11 in the morning. There are students, actors, musicians, dancers; they are local artists and groups, or they answered to the international call for proposals, and stood out among the dozens applications. Week after week, they will reveal five points of view on Dante’s universe, at the crossroads between history and imagination, poetry and music, body and soul. In collaboration with the Municipality of Ravenna, Società Dante Alighieri, and Società Dantesca Italiana, and with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna, hosting the events in the Cloisters it owns, the Festival offers Young Artists for Dante to the audience of citizens and visitors at the symbolic admission fee of 1 euro.

Dante: so superior to be out of reach, father of the Italian language, a pillar of literature of all times, all places; the author of a work that mirrors and contains the whole world, human and divine. But also Dante: in the language the Italians speak everyday, in the ideas, in the opinions; his profile is unmistakable, symbol of a culture that still conquers the heart and the imagination of people from any tradition, any country. The Festival that has made of the city’s history the keystone of its own identity – looks forward to the year 2021, the 7th centenary of Dante’s death, while it thinks and rethinks Dante – not far, but very close – with the third edition of Young Artists for Dante.”    —Ravenna Festival, May 25, 2018