Our main character, Sonny, is struggling with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and has already lost the use of the lower half of her body. But the video game world is her escape from reality. It allows her to walk and fight just like any action hero. Apollo, her avatar, wants Sonny to compete in the tournament of death with a grand prize of 3 million dollars. But Sonny knows that she is already losing feeling in her hands. If she plays, this could be the last time she ever touches the keyboard with Apollo at her command. This conflict parallels the main character’s struggle with ALS to the struggle of the video game characters fear of permadeath.
I think that the story is a little confusing at the beginning. My favorite part was when Apollo and Aphrodite are trying to “out grieve” each other over Adonis’s death. Here PermaDeath did something that is incredibly hard to do in entertainment in general; you brought humor into a sad scene. Doing this can destroy a touching moment by making the sadness seem like it didn’t matter. The way that PermaDeath integrated the humorous element makes it easier to relate to the characters and feel what they are going through during the sad scenes.
PermaDeath is pioneering a new subgenre of opera. A younger generation that normally would not attend an operatic performance, would see opera in a whole new light after seeing Permadeath. Just as Hamilton brought new audiences to Broadway, PermaDeath may bring new audiences to opera if publicized enough through word of mouth and social media. As somebody who has never thought to go see an opera, seeing PermaDeath has opened my eyes to a different genre of performance. And now, after seeing PermaDeath, I would go to see another opera hands down.