Saturday, May 27, 2006

Paradise Lost

Back to infrequent posts here - the commute to London for the BT 'Wireless Cities' project takes up a great deal of time.

Down to the Salisbury Playhouse this afternoon to see 'Paradise Lost' (John Milton) adapted for stage by Ben Power. Press release here.

The first half has Satan and cohorts planning their future strategy, having ended up in hell after losing a power struggle with God. Cue lightshow and loud music.

After the interval, we are in the Garden of Eden with a naked Adam and Eve on stage, about to be tempted by the serpent-disguised Satan. The play ends with A. and E.'s expulsion from the G. of E. following the apple incident.

Although 'highly-aclaimed', we were not unduly impressed. The language is sub-Shakespearean, and the acting - although technically competent - seems to lack conviction. The central problem, however, is with the plot. The dilemma facing A. and E. is to eat the apple, get knowledge and take charge of their destiny (but incur God's wrath for disobedience), vs. obey God's arbitrary injunction not to eat it and continue to wallow in brain-dead luxury.

Since there is no rational reason for God to have forbidden the apple to be eaten, or at least no motive which the script identifies, there is no interesting central dilemma for the characters. And hence no dramatic tension.

Confession: we both almost fell asleep in the first half, and we did not find the nudity arousing in the second. Looks like the naturists are right after all.