Raised a Roman Catholic, vivid images of the first man and woman wandering blissfully around the Garden of Eden are indelibly seared into my brain. I can see them now in their naked innocence, two obedient children in adult bodies, under the watchful eye of their all-seeing yet invisible father.
And of course, this vision is inexorably coupled by an image of the same two figures, now tragically cowering in shame as they hide behind trees and bushes, quivering under the castigation of an unforgiving God, sorrowfully losing everything as a result of their one and only disobedient act.
While they might seem hopelessly dated, quaint and even ridiculous to many of us, these stories remain important and baked into over half of humankind’s narrative code.
They have inspired poets, musicians, artists and architects to create some of the greatest works of ancient and modern civilisation. They have fuelled our quarrels, our politics, our beliefs and sown the seeds of our intolerance for centuries.
Where did we come from? Why do we suffer? Why do we die? Why do we need saving? Our ancient stories, from Genesis to Jesus, are served up by the sacred texts of the Bible, the Quran and the Torah, to answer these questions for us.
And the grand daddy of these stories, is the story of creation, Adam and Eve, and what Christian’s call, their Original Sin.
It’s this story that inspired an English civil servant John Milton to write his nation’s epic poem in the mid 1600s: Paradise Lost. And it’s this story that will be the subject of our 2014 production in Second Life.
We’ll be staging Milton’s version of events first chronicled in the Book of Genesis 2-3. To those not familiar with Milton’s work (or Genesis for that matter), he begins his story with the fall of Satan, a rebellious angel that started a civil war in Heaven, leading to the damnation of a third of Heaven’s population and the necessary creation of Hell as a traitor’s prison. Later, God the Father creates the universe, the Earth, the animals and then finally, Adam and Eve. Satan, intent on revenge but too weak to fight God’s armies again, aims to corrupt the innocence of God’s latest creation, and does so by tempting Eve, while disguised as a serpent. Eve falls for the smooth and deceitful Satan’s trickery, and eats from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam, not wishing to let his one and only love perish alone, eats the Forbidden Fruit, wilfully committing Man’s first disobedience, and our Original Sin. Enraged and vindictive, God sends his angels to expel Adam and Eve from Paradise, and punishes them, and all of their future children, to an Old Testament’s worth of suffering and mortality. This paves the way for the Son of God, to eventually take up human form and sacrifice himself to redeem Adam and Eve’s Original Sin.
I’ll be choreographing the production to the fourteen movements of Mozart’s Requiem, unabridged and in sequence. Harvey will resume his role as Technical Director, and together we’ll be creating all the sets while he scripts everything to work as it should. Casting will begin in January, and the production will premier in Spring 2014.
We’re hoping to do justice to this epic, by staging a grand, impressive and immersive performance, the likes of which we have not yet seen in Second Life. And if you missed yesterday’s trailer, here it is again. Watch it in HD, and ideally, full screen.