Children of Eden – Paper Mill Playhouse 1997
- Disc 1
- 10. Childhood’s End
- Disc 2
- 7. In Whatever Time We Have
- 9. What Is He Waiting For?
Based on the first nine chapters of the Book of Genesis, Children of Eden uses “storytellers” both as individual Biblical characters and as a modern Greek chorus to tell and comment upon the stories. Focusing on parallel family relationships and conflicts (particularly those between parents and their children) in the Garden of Eden and the story of Noah’s Ark, the show is double cast, using the same actors from the first act to play the corresponding characters in the second.
As Act I begins, Father creates a universe (Let There Be) full of waters and wonders, as well as creatures in His own image: Adam and Eve. At first, they dutifully and lovingly obey Father, but Eve is curious to explore and learn, especially about the Tree of Knowledge and its forbidden fruit. To distract the children from the Tree, Father summons the animals and gives Adam and Eve the task of their Naming. Father teaches His children their prayers, and reflects on His first Father’s Day.
Adam and Eve discover their love for each other, but the repetition of day after perfect day becomes monotonous. Intrigued by the Tree’s magical effects and knowing there must be something “beyond,” Eve feels The Spark Of Creation burning bright within her. The Snake appears from behind the Tree, taunting and seducing Eve to disobey Father’s commandment by tasting the fruit In Pursuit Of Excellence. She does and – excited at the new things she sees and understands – she tells Adam about eating the fruit. Father confronts Eve and forces Adam to choose between leaving the Garden with Eve or staying with Him. Though Adam tells each he cannot imagine A World Without You, he ultimately chooses Eve and eats the fruit. In a fit of rage, Father destroys the Tree and casts His children from the Garden – Expulsion. Adam and Eve go off into The Wasteland, taking a staff carved from the ruined Tree with them.
Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel, are taught to love and respect Father through prayer and offerings. Abel is compliant, but Cain resists blind obedience, and Eve recognizes that same “spark of creation” that led her to the Tree. Cain tells Abel they must strike out on their own to survive – Lost In The Wilderness. Father appears to them, explaining that, although their parents will never see Him again, Cain and Abel are now His hope for the future. Close To Home, Adam, Eve and Abel reflect on their difficult but loving life in the wilderness, when Cain appears, shouting about the great ring of stones he has discovered beyond their encampment. He has always hoped that there were other people out there. It turns out that Adam has known this all along. Parents and children argue about deceit and control. When Adam tries to keep Cain from leaving, Cain attacks his father. Abel intercedes, but Cain, blind with rage, kills his brother. While Adam and Eve are crushed by the death of Abel, Father is more furious at the loss of His last, best hope, and brands the murderer with The Mark of Cain, damning not only Cain but his descendants to be cursed and shunned for all time.
Many years later, after Adam dies of old age, Eve begs Father to speak to her once more. Father reappears to tell her she has done well in bearing a new son, Seth, and that the time has come for her to die.
With her last breath, she asks Seth and his descendants, the Children Of Eden, to forgive her and Adam.
Act II begins with the procession of the Generations, through the “begats” from Adam and Eve to Noah. Noah is about to finish the Ark but he implores Father not to destroy the world. Determined to wipe out the race of Cain, Father tells Noah that allowing his family and the animals to be saved on the Ark is the world’s last chance.
Though required to take a wife from the race of Seth onboard the Ark like his brothers, Noah’s son Japheth is still unwed with only days until the flood. The seven family members anxiously await the announcement of Japheth’s intended (Piece Of Eight) when he reveals that she is the family servant girl, Yonah, of the race of Cain. Noah tells Japheth that Yonah is an impossible choice, reminding him of Father’s determination to eliminate Cain’s descendants. The family argues until the arrival of the animals gathered to board the Ark. Noah apologizes to Yonah, but she understands that she must be left behind; a member of the race of Cain, she is no Stranger To The Rain. But Japheth has made plans to hide Yonah on the Ark, urging her to make the most of their love In Whatever Time We Have.
Furious at Japheth’s disobedience, Father unleashes the fury of The Flood. After forty days of rain, the stowaway Yonah wonders if she is the reason it hasn’t stopped and, in desperation, she releases a dove to seek dry land. The family discovers Yonah and in parallel to the death of Abel, the family fight almost ends in the death of Japheth’s brother, Ham. But this time, Japheth does not strike his brother down. At the last moment, Yonah intercedes and Japheth refuses “to be the murderer.” Instead, he stands by Yonah and forces Noah to decide their fate.
Noah is torn but finally realizes that children must be allowed to choose for themselves – The Hardest Part Of Love. He allows Japheth and Yonah to marry and belong to the family, expecting the worst from Father. But He too has heard the truth of Noah’s discovery. The rain clears, as Father sends the dove back with an olive branch. Eve rejoices – Ain’t It Good.
As the family leaves the Ark to repopulate the world, Father releases His children, freeing them to live their own lives. As they set off for lands unknown with a fresh start, things are as they were In The Beginning.
Father: William Solo
Adam/Noah: Adrian Zmed
Eve/Mama Noah: Stephanie Mills
Cain/Japheth: Darius de Haas
Abel/Ham: Hunter Foster
Seth/Shem: Vincent D’Elia
Aysha: Emy Baysic
Aphra: Sheetal Gandhi
Yonah: Kelli Rabke
Young Cain: James Anthony Johnson
Young Abel: Barry Cavanagh
Snake: Emy Baysic, Vincent D’Elia, Sheetal Gandhi, Angela Garrison, Jim Weaver
Adult Storytellers: Cheryl Allison, Yu Asuka, Charles Bergell, Jonjon Briones, Donna J. Clark, Rebecca Dolan, Shawn Emamjomeh, Diane Foster, Angela Garrison, Enders Groff, Steve Hogle, Latonya Holmes, Michael Hunsaker, Capathia Jenkins, Trent Armand Kendall, Gary Kilmer, Robyn Lee, Lynnette E. Marrero, Therese Panicali, Susan Pfau, Dena Risha, Beth Roe, Bart Shatto, Jimmy Smagula, Frank Donovan Tamez, Jim Weaver, Christopher Windom.
Children Storytellers: Erica L. Cenci, Russell Aaron Fischer, Matthew Francisco, Chris Frascella, Dana Greenberg, Kassandra Hazard, Kristopher Hazard, Paul S. Iacono, Jason Kus, Shawn Leggett, Cassandra Mendez, Siena A. Nuzzi, Alexa Petronaci, Casey Lee Ross, Dina Jo Sison, Jeffrey Songco, Jessica Waxman, Rori Brooke Wolfe.