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LIBRETTI

by Derek Strahan

EXTRACTS FROM 'EDEN IN ATLANTIS"

You can read the complete Libretto by purchasing it from this site.

table of contents

Summary of Libretto
Act 1 extracts
Act 2 extracts
Act 3 extracts

'EDEN IN ATLANTIS" SUMMARY OF THE LIBRETTO

The setting of the opera evokes the earth in an earlier geological age, the "Golden Age" of Greek mythology, the "Eden" of legend. The earth is closer to the sun, the year is of 360 days, the axis is perpendicular to the elliptic, resulting in eternal summer from pole to pole. The sun is larger. The sky is a different colour. There are two moons. The earth is bountiful. Many forms of animal and marine life now extinct proliferate. Though amply provided for by nature with little effort, humans have to share their environment with many dangerous animal species, and tend to live in protected communities.

The prevailing maritime culture is established on a large southern island (Antarctica) which is not, in this era, located at the south pole. It is authoritarian, patriarchal, has developed technological skills in crystal, metals, fire and the arts: it has explored and mapped the globe. In a short Prologue, a dissident scientist, Lucifer, is condemned for heresy and misuse of science. His punishment is banishment to a distant culture, thought of as primitive, located on the island continent of (what will become) Atlantis. Lucifer's "crime" is, in fact, to have revealed to the common people scientific secrets reserved for the "priesthood" (the ruling elite). (In mythology, this is the "crime" committed by all rebellious gods of fire - Prometheus, Loke, Lucifer - the crime of revealing forbidden knowledge. And the fire god is always a 'demi-god" - half divine and half human - that is, half 'of the gods' and half 'of the people'. The root of the name "Prometheus" means "foresight." Prometheus brought "fire down from heaven". The word "angel" means "messenger", and the name "Lucifer" means "the Light-Bringer". A variant of this character appears in each opera of this cycle.)

The main three acts take place on the island continent of Atlantis, where matriarchal rule prevails under Iahu, named after the prevailing deity, her name meaning "exalted dove". ("Iahu" is the Sumerian name of the Greek moon goddess Eurynome, and is the feminine form of the later male god "Jehovah") The story concerns the love triangle between Eva, Lucifer, and Adam, son of Iahu, who wishes to usurp his mother and rule Atlantis himself. Lucifer learns that Adam eliminated Eva's first love, Daemon, by conspiring to have him selected to "marry" his mother as her "consort" for the next lunar cycle, and also by having Daemon lead a hunting party to kill a dangerous "dragon" (a dinosaur), at which he dies. (The latest surviving model of the cyclic "consort" arrangement was in the cult surrounding the Roman goddess, Diana, the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt. Ref. opening chapter of "The Golden Bough" J.G.Fraser).

Eva and Daemon are deeply in love, but such "permanent" liaisons are discouraged in this matriarchal society, where inheritance is matrilineal and male paternity is not formally acknowledged. (See Robert Graves, "The Greek Myths", 1.1) Daemon dies during the hunt. Lucifer, who is himself in love with Eva, does not yet tell her about Adam's betrayal. (The historian Josephus, 37-100 AD, attributes human characteristics to the Serpent, and describes him as being jealous of Adam). Conflict is resolved by the advent of a strange "star", a body which enters the solar system, and then falls to earth. Lucifer, having knowledge of crystal, metals and fire is able to predict this event and bring Eva to safety in his workshop (lair), a cave in the side of a great mountain. Adam seeks her out here. From this vantage point, from the mouth of the cave, they witness the "star" enter the sky and collide with the second moon. Eden is then engulfed in fire. Lucifer chooses this moment to reveal to Eva Adam's role in the death of Daemon. In despair Adam flings himself into the flaming abyss which is now Eden. Eva will survive with Lucifer, who becomes her new Adam, in whom the old knowledge persists.

As regards polemic, each opera in this cycle exalts the primacy of the individual, of personal romance and loyalty above the demands of whatever official ideology is in place, whether it is of a religious, political or sexually discriminatory nature, or, as is usually the case, a lethal combination of all three elements. "Eden in Atlantis" is a work of fiction, populated by characters suggested by readings from mythology. Additional information about the project may be accessed at my website, in the Portfolio section. Website address: http://www.revolve.com.au

MUSIC DEVELOPED TO ILLUSTRATE MY INTENTIONS IN WRITING THE PROPOSED WORK: Australia Council funding enabled composing of Atlantis" for Flute/Alto Flute & Piano (1990), recording released on JADCD 1063, along with my "Voodoo Fire" for Clarinet, Percussion & Synthesiser (1996), composed for Alan Vivian and premiered at the Canberra School of Music. "Atlantis Variations" (1992) is a 50-minute piano work. In a 25-minute Scena "Eden In Atlantis" for Soprano Flute/Alto Flute & Piano (1996), Eve sings about a lovers' tryst in a walled garden. The recording of the premiere of this work has been released on Jade CD (JADCD 1074 "Eden In Atlantis"). The work contains a leitmotif for the (present) moon. This was originally written in 1992 as part of a film score "The Cult of Diana" ( Roman Goddess of the Moon). An orchestrated version of it and other pertinent themes may be heard in a Suite drawn from this music released on a Jade CD "Remembering Adrian Braun" JADCD 1073. Other material intended for inclusion is developed in my "Clarinet Concerto No.1".

 

PREFACE TO THE PROLOGUE AND ACT ONE:

SOME NOTES ON HIGH CIVILISATIONS IN ANTIQUITY, ANTARCTICA, EDEN, LUCIFER, LENSES.

HIGH CIVILISATIONS IN ANTIQUITY: First published in 1966, Professor Charles Hapgood's analytic study of pre-Columbian world maps ("Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings") gave respectability to the idea that high civilisations may have existed in distant antiquity, although his conclusions are net yet accepted by "mainstream" science. His studies began with the 1513 map of a Turkish admiral, Piri Reis, which he deduced was copied from much older maps as it shows part of the east coast of South America, and part of Antarctica as it would be with any ice cover. Studies of other pre-Columbian "Portolan" maps reinforced this conclusion.

In summary he wrote: "The evidence presented by the ancient maps appears to suggest the existence in remote times, before the rise of any of the known cultures, of a true civilisation, of a comparatively advanced sort, which was either localised in one area but had worldwide commerce, or was, in a real sense a worldwide culture ... perhaps more advanced than any culture before the 18th century of the Christian Era ... The mapping of a continent like Antarctica implies much organisation ... Furthermore it is unlikely that that navigation and mapmaking were the only sciences developed by this people, or that the application of mathematics to cartography was the only practical application they made of their mathematical knowledge."

ANTARCTICA: Subsequent writers such as Graham Hancock ("Fingerprints of the Gods" 1995) speculate that Antarctica, in an era prior to pole displacement, and before becoming icebound, could have been inhabited and would have provided "a climate and resources suitable for the development of civilisation" which an mid-Oceanic island such as Plato's Atlantis could not have afforded. Personally, I think both propositions are sustainable, since Great Britain and Japan, in our era, provide examples of islands which have imported culture, and which have achieved prominence in part due to the relative immunity to invasion and conquest which islands enjoyed (prior to the development of weapons of mass destruction).

EDEN: The real geographical Eden (also known as Dilmun) which is now thought to have been located around the shores of Lake Van in the Taurus Mountains above Northern Iraq, near the source of the Euphrates. The 'Eden' of this story is the Eden of the mythical paradise, which I regard as 'code' for the earth as it was in a geographically different age. Nor is the 'Eden' of this story that of Genesis, since the Hebrew account is that of the creation of the human race. However, I have "imported" the characters of that story into this one, in order to re-examine their drama, and because the "Jehovah" of that story has a pre-existence in female form as "Iahu", a Sumerian Goddess, in a society deemed by Robert Graves to belong to an era when matriarchy was a governing principle of social organisation.

LUCIFER: The story of Lucifer's fall from grace is very similar to the story of Prometheus, and, in my view, each character has a very contemporary feel: that of the dissident scientist who persists in exploring the unknown and the taboo, despite the disapproval of authority, and who incurs further disapproval by making his findings widely available. These characteristics, curiosity, stubbornness and an innate sense of democracy, are not evil, but they are socially subversive, and they have been packaged together with other genuinely evil characteristics (pertaining to madness and to pathological states) in order to discourage expression of them! The Lucifer of this story is neither evil, nor perfect. But, like the Devil in mediaeval morality plays, and in later dramas and operas featuring the Devil, he is the catalyst which keeps the story moving! In other operas of this cycle, this same "messenger/angel of the gods" reappears successively as Prometheus and as Hermes. ("'Angel' is a word that translates the Hebrew term for messenger (mal'ak) into Greek ('angelos')" - "The Origin of Satan" (1995) Elaine Pagels.)

LENSES: The best digest of evidence for the existence of lenses in antiquity is "The Crystal Sun" (2000) by Robert Temple, the result of 30 years research into this subject, tracking actual lenses in museums throughout the world (mislabelled as buttons or decorations!), and tracing references to them in the ancient literature of Greece, Egypt, India, China and South America, detailing their use for magnification (including telescopes!) and as weapons of war, as early forms of "death ray". Archimedes' feat in repelling the Roman fleet in the harbour of Syracuse by the uses of "burning glasses" in 212BC is well documented and has twice been repeated in modern experiments, in 1741, in Paris, by the Comte de Buffon, and in 1973, in Athens, by Dr. Ioannis G. Sakas. I therefore felt safe in attributing such expertise to Lucifer, in this story.

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

Scenario for an original opera for multimedia by Derek Strahan

OVERTURE: The earth is a spinning globe. Around it two moons are in orbit. One is recognisable as the present moon, and beyond it, smaller and less reflective of the sun's light, is a second moon. Our perspective closes on this spectacle, moving in turn past each of the moons, till the features of the slowly turning earth become clearer.

At first sight the land masses look familiar, but as we move closer, differences can be seen. The land mass of what is now Antarctica is entirely clear of the southern pole, and is composed of two separate islands. Only its southern tip is white with permafrost. All the planet's land masses look misshapen, and it can soon be seen that the reason for this is that the sea level is much lower, and, world-wide, there is more land exposed. There are also many more islands visible in all the oceans. What is now the Indonesian archipelago of islands is an almost continuous land mass. The entire Dolphin's Ridge in the centre of the Atlantic Ocean is exposed, as a large island, and many other smaller islands dot the ocean's expanse, like stepping stones between Africa and South America.

What is now the Mediterranean is a huge lake, the northern part of Africa is green and there are extensive lakes throughout what is now desert. The great rivers of the Tigris and the Euphrates coil blue through a lush green crescent in what is desert in our era.

The Arctic Ocean is clear of ice. The northern parts of Russia including Siberia are green and temperate.The north pole is situated at what is now Hudson Bay in Canada, and the north of the American continent is icebound.

As we descend through the stratosphere, our vision is dimmed by mist, and as we emerge from it, still descending, the twin islands of the former Antarctica fill our vision, till a green and forested land comes into sharp focus, broken by mountain ranges and great rivers.

We glimpse settlements along the rivers, and the globe appears to slow as our vision closes on a large development near the mouth of one of the greatest rivers. Swooping down we catch glimpses amid tall trees of white dwellings with roofs of differing colours, and river craft, some with billowing sails. The clustering of habitations grows denser until, near the river mouth, a vast circular harbour becomes visible and beyond it can be seen magnificent structures built of cyclopean stone blocks, built around circular open spaces, paved and decorated with large statues, sculptured from decorative stone or various metals, including gold. The eye is drawn to a prominent structure built on a hill overlooking the city, which is domed, built of a shining material. The dome is partly open, and as we close on it, something resembling a giant lens, enclosed in a tube, can be seen pointing up at the sky.

Our perspective continues to fall till it reaches ground level in front of the building, which is formed as a semi circle, fringed by statuary. Moving forward, we pass statues representing scientists at work using a range of measuring devices, some of which appear to be, variously, microscopes and telescopes, and others which appear to be emitting rays of light or fire. There are also models of various globes, some set in orbits around each other. The largest globe, which is hollow, is placed in a central position in front of the entrance to the building. It is formed by a lattice work seeming to represent lines of latitude and longitude. On it are attached metal plates representing land masses which vaguely resemble those of the planet earth, only the poles are differently placed, and the outlines appear to us to be misshapen. We pass through the entrance and into a great circular room, which is the Great Hall. Far above, on a suspended platform, is the Great Eye, the giant lens we saw earlier, angled up and pointing at the sky through the opening in the dome. A shaft of bright sunlight pours down into the Great Hall, in a widening arc, illuminating the part of the floor where Lucifer's inventions are on display.

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

PROLOGUE:

SCENE 1: In the Great Hall a trial is taking place. The scientist, LUCIFER is being arraigned for the crime of heresy, that is, revealing to the common people, secret practises reserved for the governing authorities.

 

EXTRACT FROM THE SCENE (THE OPENING MOMENTS)

LUCIFER
You accuse me of wrongdoing. But all I have done is to bring knowledge to the common people.

FIRST JUDGE
The common people do not need to be confused by knowledge which is of no use to them.

LUCIFER
Who is to judge what is of use to them?

SECOND JUDGE
We do.

LUCIFER
If you deprive our people of knowledge, you to leave them unprotected.

THIRD JUDGE
Unprotected from what?

LUCIFER
From the unknown.

There is laughter from the Crowd. The JUDGES remain impassive.

CROWD (Variously)
Ha ha! The unknown? He talks in riddles! He does not make sense. Ha ha!

FIRST JUDGE (solemnly)
We are here to protect them.

The Earth leitmotif is heard during the following, underscoring Lucifer's words.

LUCIFER
You are here to protect your own privileges! Why should you reserve to yourselves to right to use the crystal eye to examine the mysteries of the skies? Why should not the people be allowed to see the truth? That the stars in the sky are other worlds, like our own, with mountains and valleys, made of rock and earth? Why keep them in ignorance?

THIRD JUDGE
What you call ignorance is contentment. Close perusal of the skies gives rise to questioning - about the meaning of existence, about the extent of the universe, about the nature of the gods! Why confuse them with abstract thoughts, which only distract them from the performance of their daily tasks?

LUCIFER
Because they are not all fools, devoid of human curiosity! Because they ask themselves such questions anyway! You assume that because a man toils in the field to cultivate the land, or sails the seas to catch fish, that he has no mind for other matters! He also looks up into the heavens and wonders what the stars are!

FIRST JUDGE
It is better to leave him to his own imaginings. They do neither him nor his fellows any harm.

THIRD JUDGE
If the common people have use of these sacred crystals they will misuse them.

SECOND JUDGE
Instead of using the crystal eye to seek knowledge in the stars, they will turn it on each other to spy out each others' secrets from a distance.

LUCIFER
But you spy on them!

FIRST JUDGE
For their own good.

LUCIFER
You mean, for your good! So you can spot rebels from a distance!

FIRST JUDGE
The chief rebel is before us!

During and following LUCIFER's last outburst, the other JUDGES and the COUNCILLORS express astonishment and disapproval at LUCIFER's behaviour.

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

ACT ONE

PRELUDE: It is twilight in a luxuriant garden which is dominated by a large bo tree (a primeval form of fig). Its huge spread of branches frames, on one side, the vista of a bay enclosed by headlands. At the tip of one can be seen the silhouette of a domed edifice. The familiar moon of today's Earth hangs in the sky, but it light is strangely dulled, since it is partly eclipsed by a smaller darker body which can be seen passing across it. In the age when these events occur, the larger moon is known as Selene, and the smaller one as Malkuth.

A grassy open space leads up to a cliff edge, from which the water of the bay can be seen, and the ocean beyond, ripples faintly glistening in the dimmed moonlight. The lush vegetation on each side of this spectacle is a tangle of creepers and vines climbing around the branches of a variety of other trees and shrubs some of which are of a primitive kind, and others bear a variety of edible fruit. The impression is not of a cultivated garden but of one in which nature, of its own accord, is fruitful. During the following, occasional night birds, sometimes bats, are seen to wing their way lazily across the night sky, silhouetted against the moons.

The impression of a garden is created by the glimpse, seen through the trees at one side, of a high wall of stones which leads to the cliff edge.

EXTRACT: SCENES TWO & THREE

SCENE 2: A beautiful woman, EVA, appears from among trees near the wall, dressed in a flowing translucent, silky gown, and walks into the centre of the grassy patch, looking around her, searchingly. She then turns and looks out over the bay, staring at the moons. In a moment, hearing a rustle in the foliage, she turns round as DAEMON, an athletic young man, of pleasing appearance, dressed in leather garments, emerges from a clump of trees.

DAEMON

Eva!

EVA
Daemon! My love!

They run towards each other and embrace and kiss passionately, and, as they do, the night sky becomes brighter. They turn and watch as the second, smaller moon moves clear of the larger one, and begins to be seen shining with its own reflected light. The light of the larger moon intensifies.

During the following, both moons move slowly across the sky, the smaller one at a much faster rate than the larger. The smaller moon is dimmer, its light more diffuse.

Everything becomes more brightly illuminated. The dome of the temple on the headland can now be seen to be made of bright metallic substance which now gleams. The water in the bay and the ocean beyond glisten. The vegetation seems to glow with an inner light, which is caused by a layer of mist reflecting the lunar shine.

EVA
In the fourth cycle of the second moon
which is the closer of the two
when the first moon is in eclipse
my lover joins with me in this enchanted garden
on the lower slopes of the mountain
which joins our land to the spirit realm above.

DAEMON
Our first kiss was given veiled by pallor
as etheric Malkuth shone alone amid the constellations.
They kiss again, and, as the kiss turns into an extended embrace, the leitmotif for Selene is heard, as a hunting call, which is then echoed in the following vocal line. The moonlight now reaches its peak of luminescence.

TOGETHER

Then, as our passion grows,
celestial Selene appears again
bathing entangled limbs of vines and trees
in cascading argenteous light.

During the following, the five lines of libretto are given three different settings of increasing fervour, and the director must choose how to match action to words. The scene is intended as one of prolonged erotic closeness as a prelude to the act itself, and the words may be interpreted as erotic fantasy, which the lovers fully intend to act out during the course of the night. As much visual use of the primal surroundings, and the lovers' ecstatic response to it, may be made as of actual physical closeness. There are clear indications in the music of the third setting, as to where passionate impulse becomes overwhelming.

EVA/DAEMON (variously, in three different settings)
Aromatic blossoms scent the heavy air
Let mist lie on our nakedness.
Earth's warmth caresses, enfolds us.
Lost in each other we pass the night hours
in endless embrace.

As the music subsides into quiet pulsations, EVA and DAEMON move towards the great bo tree, and secret themselves in front of it, out of sight, and facing the bay. From the distance a harsh clanging is heard, of a bell being repeatedly struck. LUCIFER emerges from a cluster of bushes at the side, and stands for a moment looking at the bo tree. He then turns away, moves out of the garden through a concealed entrance, and slowly walks along a path leading away from the cliff edge and up a slope. As our perspective changes, we see above him the distant peak of a high snow-capped mountain. The path he is climbs winds up its lower slope. Further up we see the mouth of a natural cave in the side of the mountain. It is reached only by a narrow path along a ledge beyond which is a precipitous drop.

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

SCENE 3: As he climbs the path to the cave, his mountain lair, LUCIFER meditates on his situation. The lush vegetation around the walled garden thins out to a more rocky terrain, studded with small bushes. Above and around him in the great arc of the sky, a myriad bright stars shine. The two moons are now very far apart. The distant plain from which the mountain rises, becomes visible. Below him are the lights of the settlement of Eden, set out on the plain below. There is a major concentration of flickering flares, around which are smaller pinpoints of light. A river winds through the settlement, visible because it shines like snake. As he walks and meditates, LUCIFER looks around him, below and above, and every now and then pauses to contemplate: and then walks on.

LUCIFER
Eva! Eva! My salvation!
My hope! My despair!
If you but knew the truth about me!
If you but knew what enlightenment you have brought to me!
How frustrated my accusers would be
were they to know how their intended punishment
has instead brought me such joy!
They banished me!
They exiled me thousands of measures from my homeland,
seeking to chastise me for my pride!
They stole my work, my knowledge, my achievements!
They sought to humble me!
They sent me to do penance in exile, to live among people
with backward customs and superstitions!"
From among all the lands of the great Earth,
they chose to banish me to this island of primitives,
this island ruled by women!
This community in which I am an outcast,
in which I am tolerated only because of the teachings I impart!

But fate has defeated my accusers.
Fate has revealed to me the most precious knowledge,
which hitherto I lacked.
Despite all my learning, all my science,
I still lacked knowledge of the greatest mystery!
The mystery of love.
Love, irrational, impulsive, unchosen!
Love, the unfathomable mystery which now alone rules my life!
Love to which I must bow my will!
Women may not I rule me!
But I , Lucifer, now submit to one woman!

We have followed LUCIFER to the mouth of the cave, which is reached by walking along a narrow ledge, below which is a precipitous drop. Now he turns around, and raises his upturned arms to the skies.

Eva! Eva! My salvation!
Salvation if you should love me!
Eva! My hope! Hope that I might win you!
Eva! My despair! Despair that I never shall!

LUCIFER turns and slowly walks into the mouth of the cave, Blackness swallows him.

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

PREFACE TO ACT TWO - SOME NOTES ON DINOSAURS

The male wizards of "fairy tales" do have a basis in antiquity, being the high priests of early religions, such as Druids, as do female witches, being midwives, the purveyors of natural therapies, as well as priestesses, and having as important a status as males in pagan hierarchies. Their beliefs and practises have been studied and documented, as has their demonisation by Christianity. A new religion always discredits the theology it displaces. In short, there is a factual basis in antiquity for these seemingly fanciful "characters". It has always, therefore, bothered me that the same credibility is not afforded to "dragons". And, since i choose to regard "fairy tales" as residual pre-history, I have come to suppose that, in reality, "dragons" were large carnivorous lizards, in other words, dinosaurs. For this story, I have surmised this to be the case.

It's now known that mammoths were not entirely wiped out by the cataclysm which ended the Quaternary (Ice) Age and that a strain of pygmy mammoths survived for another 5,000 years in the Arctic (becoming pygmy because of restricted food supply). Similarly, perhaps, not all dinosaurs died 65 million years ago, but small populations survived in pockets to feed on mammals and be a nuisance to humans until they were finally hunted to extinction. Otherwise, what, in reality were dragons? .

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

EXTRACTS FROM ACT TWO: SCENE 7

SCENE 7: It is day in the central meeting area in Eden, occupied by various groups of ADAMI. One group of MALE ATTENDANTS is busy cleaning and tidying up around the banquet tables. Another group of FEMALE GUARDS of Amazonian stature are watching the ATTENDANTS in amusement, and making comments among each other.

Other ADAMI are strolling around and, again, some couples are of opposite sex, and some are of same sex.

KISH, a MALE ATTENDANT, is gossiping to his close male friend, ETANA.

KISH
It is true, Etana. I swear by the light of the Sun. Truly I heard that Eva and Daemon were both arrested, and will both be put on trial.

ETANA
And they were discovered alone together? During the Festival?

KISH
Early on the morning after. In the Walled Garden of Solitude!!

ETANA
In the Walled Garden! But that is sacrilege!

KISH
True. And there is more. Not only were they discovered alone together in the sacred garden - but also they were discovered naked!

ETANA (at first shocked)
Naked! Great Selene! That means they were ... doing it, during the eclipse!!

KISH
One can only suppose!

ETANA
Oh!
(he giggles) Oh! These man-woman lovers! What risks they take! How much simpler life is when there are no tedious restrictions - as for us ...

KISH
Yes, but just imagine how exciting it would be if our love were forbidden on holy days. Just think of the terror! The fear of being discovered!

ETANA
I can do without such terror. On such holy days I would stay home behind barred doors! And allow no one to ravage me!

KISH
And who do you suppose would want to?

ETANA
Now, now! Do not tease me! For your information, it would not distress me if Daemon broke down my door! Not even on a holy day!

KISH
I doubt if Daemon will be free to do that. Neither he nor Eva. Sacrilege carries a severe punishment. They may even die!

ETANA
I cannot feel too pained about the temptress, Eva, who makes dove eyes at all men, whether they fancy her or not! But it pains me to think that the beautiful Daemon night suffer pain and punishment!

KISH
Unless administered by you! Save your sadness for males who would welcome your wicked desires. It is well known that Daemon bestows his bounty only on women!

ETANA
Yes, and look at what trouble that unwise policy has brought him. If he returns from this latest adventure alive, perhaps he will reconsider his priorities - and realise that a friend of the same sex would provide him with greater pleasure and less problems!

KISH (laughing)
Well, there is no harm in dreaming!

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

EXTRACT FROM ACT TWO: SCENE 9

This is an extract from the Trial Scene, where Eva and Daemon are arraigned for their heretical behaviour. Sub-texts are: Iahu desires Daemon for her next consort, and is determined to end his love affair with Eva; Adam desires Eva for his Queen after he has usurped his mother's throne, and wishes to eliminate Daemon as arival; Lucifer, in love with Eva, is determined to save her from the judgement of (what he regards as) a primitive tribe.

Eva and Daemon have just, unwisely, sought to justify their behaviour in a love duet, explaining their passion - but this has only served to inflame the Queen's jealous rage! Lesbian warriors Qingu and Tiamat comment with ironic humour at the goings on.

Extract begins:

There is a surge of sympathy from those present, which IAHU abruptly cuts of by rising imperiously and gesturing for silence.

ALL (variously)
Such devotion! Such passion! Allowance must surely be made for youth!

IAHU
Silence! Silence! Do not presume to anticipate my judgment! This demonstration of self-indulgence by the accused does not impress me! They present their impetuous passions as a virtue! One inspired by nature! They seek imply that there is a special value in their feelings which renders them immune from the judgment of our court. I remind everyone here that we have all felt passion at times, whether of man for woman, woman for woman or man for man. Passions has its utility, provided its expression does not lead to transgression of our laws!

DAEMON
Glorious Queen, we meant no harm by our ill-judged adventure!

IAHU
That you meant no harm is no defence. By what you call your adventure, you caused harm. You defied our law. You placed your own desires before the interests of Eden. You committed sacrilege not once but twice. You defiled a sacred place at the time of a sacred festival. The punishment for sacrilege is death. You have both earned death twice! Unfortunately each of you can only suffer this punishment once!

ADAM has become alarmed during the above and now tries to intervene.

ADAM
Honoured mother! Queen of Eden! Queen of the Adami! You speak the truth! The law must be respected. But both of the accused have been hitherto without blemish. I respectfully request that their good record be taken in account when considering punishment.

ALL (variously)
There is right in what each says. The law must prevail. But how is the law to be read?

QINGU (to TIAMAT)
This becomes more confusing as each moment passes.

TIAMAT (to QINGU)
Believe me, Qingu, the Queen will have her way. And Adam will also have his way. But their ways must be prepared!

IAHU
My son, as ever, shows fine judgment.
Who wishes to speak in favour of the accused, speak now.

LUCIFER (rising to his feet)
Honoured Queen, I beg leave to offer my thoughts.

IAHU
Lord Lucifer, you are not of the Adami.

LUCIFER
That is true. But you did summon me to attend this gathering.

IAHU
Only to give an account of the workings of your burning eye.
And only after we have concluded our other business.

LUCIFER
I beg leave to suggest, honoured Queen, that,
as a stranger to Eden,
who has knowledge of the affairs of many other lands,
I may be able to suggest ways of fulfilling the law
without needlessly sacrificing lives.

IAHU
Here in Eden, we have no wish to sacrifice life needlessly!
But our first need is to honour the gods.
And that need sometimes requires a sacrifice to the gods.

LUCIFER
I have travelled far, and in every land such sacrifices are made.
But they are not all made to the same gods, and therefore
they are not all made for the same reasons.

IAHU
Do not confuse us with your talk of other gods and other lands!
I have forbidden you to disclose what you know of such matters!
Matters which must remain hidden from the Adami! For example,
I have heard you speak of lands where men rule over women.

LUCIFER
I come from such a land ...

IAHU
Yes, where men make laws to favour men!
Where women are in lifetime bondage to one man only!
Where women are mere slaves to men,
Where the children they bear are chattels of the men
by whose blood they are branded!
I know of such lands, and I know of the evils
which men commit when the laws that they obey
are the laws which they themselves have written!

ADAM
My mother, the Queen, speaks from great wisdom.
I am a man, and being a man, I know, as all men know,
that we are part beast and part spirit
unlike women in whom flesh and spirit
live in grace together, without storm and thunder,
rage and bluster.

Under the tenderness of womanly rule, man's rage is tempered
by sharing ways, and outgiving care
without pride of possession of young or old
with male strength and courage employed to protect all,
from nature's rage.

ALL (except TIAMAT and QINGU)
Such noble ideals! Such fine practise! Let the wisdom of Eden prevail!

TIAMAT (aside to QINGU, giggling)
Such arrangements are very suitable for men.
They can flit from woman to woman ...

QINGU (aside to TIAMAT, also giggling)
And never mind whose child is whose!

LUCIFER
I do not wish to recommend any foreign ways to the Adami ...

IAHU
I am glad to hear it.
Nor are you to disclose such dangerous ideas to my subjects.
What is discussed within these walls is only for the ears of my Council.

LUCIFER
Therefore, most honoured Queen,
all the better to hear the plea of a stranger to your land,
who has been made welcome in your land.
Respecting, as I do, your customs, how could I speak against them?
No, I wish to preserve and strengthen them.

IAHU
Speak then.

LUCIFER
The accused, Eva and Daemon, are accused of the crime of defiance.
Defiance of the law. Is that not so?

IAHU
It is so.

LUCIFER
Honoured Queen, to act in defiance of the law requires that one is mindful of the law. Is this not so?

IAHU
Of course it is so.

LUCIFER
And what evidence have we that they were so mindful?
Is it not that they heedlessly responded to the urges of nature,
and in doing so, were entirely forgetful of their duty?

IAHU
They were indeed forgetful of it.

LUCIFER
Then, honoured Queen, and lovely white dove of peace, I submit to you
that Eva and Daemon cannot be guilty of the crimes of which they stand accused!

IAHU remains silent, confused.

ALL (variously)
What nonsense is this? He speaks in riddles!

QINGU (aside to TIAMAT)
The Lord Lucifer angers the Queen. What does he mean?
They are guilty therefore they are not guilty?
TIAMAT
(aside to QINGU, smiling, as she is one step ahead)
Hush, and listen.

IAHU
Continue, Lord Lucifer.

LUCIFER
If they were forgetful of the law, then they were not mindful of the law.
Therefore, they cannot be guilty as accused.
IAHU remains silent, unwilling to lose face.

ALL
Is this mockery? Is this a trick?

ADAM seizes his chance to save EVA and block DAEMON in the one blow.

ADAM
A just response! A just response from Lord Lucifer!

LUCIFER
I thank you, Adam.

ANU
A just response? How can this be?

ADAM
As Lord Lucifer rightly discloses, the two accused were not in possession
of their senses at the time of the supposed offence.
They were in the grip of a passing fever, said to be passion, but in reality,
a simple heating of the blood due to animal passion.

LUCIFER
As Adam so eloquently expounds.

ADAM
Therefore, I beg the Council to note their indiscretion, to mark it well,
and commend that they cease their association forthwith,
lest a similar fever take possession of them at another inopportune time.

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

PREFACE TO ACT THREE

SOME MORE NOTES ABOUT LENSES, PROMETHEUS, FIRE, PREDICTION & ASTONOMICAL TIME:

Author Robert Temple, in his book on the use of lenses in antiquity, quotes a passage from J.G. Frazer's "The Golden Bough", as follows: "The plant (narthex) in which Prometheus carried the stolen fire (from Heaven to Earth) is commonly identified with the giant fennel (Ferula communis)." The clear implication of this is that the fire which Prometheus brought down from heaven was the heat of the sun which, when focused through lenses mounted in a tube, could ignite substances. The magnifying property of lenses can also be used, as we know, for "far seeing". The name Prometheus comes from the Greek work "prometheia", meaning in Greek "foresight, forethought", or, in other words, prophesy. Lucifer is, of course, an equivalent figure in mythology to Prometheus and, in this story, he has, in Act One and Two, been able to uses lenses to "bring down fire from heaven" and now, in Act Three, he is able to predict the arrival of a new "star" by means of his "narthex", in which lenses are mounted for the purpose of "far seeing" in the heavens and thus of making astrological predictions.

I have had to take some artistic license in the timing of the transit through space of the comet whose arrival creates havoc on earth, and in relating the stages of its arrival to our stage action. Without specifying the comet's size and angle of approach, only a sketch can be given, which must be interpreted as the director sees fit. A very large body would be seen much earlier, and its approach would therefore seem "slower", and be measured in weeks. On the other hand, German scientist and engineer Otto Heinrich Muck, in "The Secret of Atlantis", (1976) estimated that a sphere 10km (6.25 miles) in diameter, overtaking the earth in orbit at 15-20km per second, could strike our planet within only 2 minutes of its appearance in the sky, depending on its angle of approach!

 

EDEN IN ATLANTIS

EXTRACT FROM ACT THREE: SCENE 15

Daemon has perished in his battle with the dragon, his death engineered by Adam. Eva has taken refuge in Lucifer's cave on the mountainside, and he has told her about the "new star" which is approaching the earth. She has viewed it through Lucifer's "narthex." Meanwhile, Adam has become alarmed at the amount of time Eva is spending with Lucifer, and has left Eden with a companion to seek her out.

SCENE 15: It is day and Lucifer's cave is seen as in Scene 13, but brightly lit inside, and the sky and coastline of Eden shine in the brilliant light of the Sun. EVA watches as LUCIFER makes entries on a sheet of parchment.

EVA
It is hard to believe that this star,
which is so beautiful to behold,
will bring in a new age, with such turmoil.
How can you be sure that it will approach the earth?

LUCIFER
As it moves through the sky,
it passes other stars,
and its position in the sky changes.
But the greatest sign lies in its size.
It is now becoming larger,
and, sweet Eva, if it is becoming larger,
then it is coming closer.

EVA (shivering)
Lord Lucifer, I am afraid.

LUCIFER
As am I. But the earth is not afraid.
This earth has suffered many visitations,
it has experienced many ages,
and after each age, it is born anew.
Every living creature that is born must die,
and what matters is not the manner of our death,
but the manner of our living.

EVA
You speak the truth, Lord Lucifer,
and it is a truth of great beauty.
But I am still afraid.
I am afraid of the star,
and I am afraid to leave you and return to Eden.
Only sadness awaits me there.

LUCIFER becomes vehement.

LUCIFER
Listen to me, lovely Eva, and listen well.
You must not return to Eden.
You must remain here with me,
where you may find safety from the terrors
which the star will bring,
for the star is a comet, which burns.
Here we may perhaps remain safe from its fires,
safe from the fires which will blaze
when the comet rains flame from the sky,
and safe from the great waters
which will rise from the ocean
and sweep across the land.

EVA (aghast)
Is Eden to be destroyed by such violence?
What has Eden done so to anger the gods?

LUCIFER controls his anger, and speaks with something approaching sullen resentment.

LUCIFER
To what gods do you refer?

EVA
To the gods we name in our prayers.
Have you not told me that all people pray to gods,
whatever names they give to them?

LUCIFER
If this destruction comes to pass,
you may believe it to be caused by the gods,
as many will, if they live to think about it at all!
I prefer to believe it is just a passing storm,
which may seem of great importance to the people of this earth,
but is of no importance whatsoever to the gods,
whoever they may be
and even supposing that they exist at all!

EVA
You do not believe in the gods?

A surge in the music suggests that LUCIFER may erupt with anger - but, looking at EVA, he smiles, and speaks gently.

LUCIFER
Sweet Eva, you told me last night
that you yourself no longer believe in the gods!
Whatever their names might be!

EVA, who was expecting an angry outburst, also smiles.

EVA
And you, strange man, who makes me laugh
despite my fear and my unhappiness -
you, who calls himself Lucifer -
What means your name, Lord Lucifer?

LUCIFER
It means 'the one who brings light'. It is not my birth name.
My people gave me the name, because of my gifts.

EVA
And what means 'Lord'?

LUCIFER
It is a title. In my land it means 'one who has authority'.

EVA
If you had authority, then why were you banished?

LUCIFER
Because, sweet Eva, like you I offended the laws of my land.

EVA
Are you a wicked man, Lord Lucifer?

LUCIFER
Are you a wicked woman, sweet Eva?

EVA
I do not believe so. I am guilty only of love.

LUCIFER
As I am.

EVA
You? And who do you love, Lord Lucifer?

LUCIFER
One day I will tell you. One day soon.

EVA
But was it for love you were banished?

LUCIFER
In a sense. For love of my people.

EVA
You always talk in riddles.

LUCIFER
That is one of my faults.

EVA
And what other faults do you have, Lord Lucifer?

LUCIFER
I have three faults.
Firstly, I am too curious.
I have a mind to explore all the earth,
all of the oceans and all of the sky.
Therefore I restlessly seek the means
to satisfy my curiosity.

EVA
I see no fault in that. What other faults do you have, Lord Lucifer?

LUCIFER
Secondly, I am moved to great anger
when I encounter stupidity in others.
It angers me when a judgment is made
which is based on greed, or to gain an advantage,
or simply for lack of knowledge.

EVA
I see no fault in that. What other faults do you have, Lord Lucifer?

LUCIFER
Thirdly, I believe without proof, in the strength of my own will.
I wish for what I will and then, having wished,
I act to bring about the fulfilment of my will.

EVA
I see no fault in that.
If you have no other faults but these, Lord Lucifer,
then I see in you no fault!

LUCIFER
You see no fault in me, sweet Eva,
not because I am without fault,
but because you have a mind of your own
to make a judgment of your own!

EVA (laughing)
Of course I have a mind of my own!
Everybody owns their own mind!

LUCIFER
Do they? Consider Iahu, Dove of Peace and Queen of Eden,
does not she own the mind of each Adami?
Does not each Adami think the thoughts of the Queen,
as she makes known her thoughts to them?

EVA gives out a peal of laughter, louder then before.

EVA
Lord Lucifer, now I know what you are a wicked man!

LUCIFER
Why you think thus of me?

EVA
Because everything you say has about it the aura of truth.
Yet everything you say challenges the rule of law !

LUCIFER
Then, sweet Eva, you must make a difficult choice.

EVA
I must? And what choice is that?

LUCIFER
You must choose either to follow the law, or to follow me!
There is a pause, as EVA considers this. Then, again, she bursts out laughing, and LUCIFER smiles, watching her.

EVA

Now I am certain that you are a very, very wicked man!
But now I think I love you for your wickedness!

LUCIFER continues to watch her, now no longer smiling. Seeing his expression, EVA's smile also vanishes.

LUCIFER

And I know, lovely Eva, that I love you deeply, and eternally,
for your beauty, and for your laughter,
and for your mind, which understands the deepest mysteries.

They look at each other, then slowly and inevitably, fall into an embrace.
At this moment, ADAM and ASHUR appear at the mouth of the cave.

END OF EXTRACTS FROM "EDEN IN ATLANTIS"

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