theatre

The Fall of Albion

Synopsis

The Fall of Albion is based on a famous event in Greek mythology: the usurpation of the Delphi Oracle of Gaia--Mother Earth--by the invading god Apollo, and the subsequent transformation of Greek culture from a feminine, mystical, static matriarchy into the masculine, warlike, advancing people of the Illiad and Odyssey. The resulting state of war between the old earth goddesses and the new Olympic pantheon constitutes the central conflict of the play.

 

The play is set in Albion, between the World Wars, as the battle continues for the souls of men. The action of the play produces a tragedy for the mortals, and a comedy for the gods. Apollyon, the central figure in the play, is a demi-god,

a reaper of souls in Herme’s entourage, a task he performs with apparently immoral delight. He ‘flies’ around the

theatre on a crane, sings of his ribald conquests, and finally settles on a prominent family in Albion, weaving a

web of treachery for no greater purpose

than the conquest of an innocent woman,

Anne. The monstrous Furies, with dog

faces, bat wings, and snakes for hair, watch

it all happen with increasing outrage from

the spirit world, until at last they invade

the mortal plane to attack Apollyon, beat him

to a pulp, and watch him explode in bloody

humiliation.

Characters in the spirit world are shown as projections on a screen at the back of the stage. Six of the eleven characters

in the play appear as such spirits--gods, goddesses, or departed souls--reciting their lines to a backstage camera, which

then projects their images, transforming them into two dimensional beings--alive, transparent, disembodied--that can

suddenly expand into faces ten feet tall or slowly dissolve into a point of light. The relationship between the projected

spirit world on screen and the mortal plane on stage is an important elementin the play. The gods are free to cross the boundary

at will, a feat which the mortals can only accomplish in death.

 

The play calls for eight actors--three men and five women--four of them mortals, four gods. The god Apollyon also plays three

mortal roles in disguise, making eleven characters in all. About half the play is set to music, with some fifteen set pieces, mostly

patter style, with substantial underscoring of the dialogue as well. The gods do nearly all the singing. The music can be produced by

as few as three or as many as ten musicians, depending on resources. The language runs from conventional prose in parts of the

dialogue, to blank verse in the heightened underscoring, to rhymed couplets in the set pieces. Taken all together, projections, crane

flights, drama, musical set pieces and underscoring will produce a kind of cinematic theatre, in which elements of film, theatre, opera, and even the circus are combined.

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