25 theatre artists have joined forces to serve up the fruit of their 6-month labor in a one-time-only, epic concert reading of a lusciously abridged version of Paradise Lost. Commingled to mount the seemingly insurmountable, this daring crew of upstart creatures reduces Milton’s masterpiece to a fully digestible daylong event, steeped in action-packed angel warfare, celestial majesty and original sin. With a mouth-watering menu prepared and served by the artists themselves, this epic event is a guaranteed once-in-a-lifetime experience. Come to get fed; stay to get nourished.
Last month, I started meeting with a group of twenty actors twice a month. At each session, we adapt one book of Milton’s PARADISE LOST into a theatrically-viable text. At the end of our process, we will have a twelve-book, eight-hour play that we will present as a concert reading over the course of a single day.
Because of the event’s epic proportion, we’re planning on incorporating two meal breaks. As a cook and lover of food, I want our company to make and serve the food for these meals, so that both souls and bodies of our audiences will be fed. Attend as much or as little of the event as you’d like.
PARADISE LOST is a unique piece in the American canon. It is arguably the most exemplary piece of writing in the English Language, but few people have ever read it. In addition to beautiful language, Shakespearean in scale, the poem poses (and seeks to answer) fundamental questions of the human experience: What is evil? If God is all-powerful, why did he allow evil to exist? Do humans have free will? Is our life predestined?
The group of actors I’ve assembled is amazing in many ways. They range from young actors, new to New York, to Broadway veterans. We all share a hunger to work on something that is our own and a desire to share this epic story with the world.
After the concert-reading, we plan to reconvene and start staging our text, complete with original music and movement. It is thrilling and terrifying to be on our own, creating an inimitable piece of theater, and we’re finding it the perfect environment to explore this pinnacle of human achievement.