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Theater performing bold creation story, ‘Children of Eden’

Spring musical takes on bold rendition of Genesis

Christine McManigal, Staff Reporter
Originally published March 10, 2016

Thespians crowd senior Aisha Carpenter in one of “Children of Eden’s” standout scenes.

The stories of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Arc are some of our world’s most classic tales. They’ve been retold and reworked as they pass through the generations.

The theater program is now exploring one of those reworkings with their spring production, “Children of Eden,” (Stephen Schwartz), which highlights some of Genesis’ richest undercurrents. The musical focuses on themes such as temptation and redemption in the most hauntingly beautiful manner.

The story of Adam and Eve is a tale of creation. In this telling, Father (senior Gideon Wolfe) felt that the universe was missing something, so he created the world and on it he created two figures in the shape of himself named Adam and Eve. Adam (junior Diego Roberts-Buceta) and Eve (senior Aisha Carpenter) live in the Garden of Eden where the one rule is never eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, all rules are eventually broken.

“Children of Eden” shows parallelism between the two halves of Genesis, Adam and Eve and Noah’s Arc. To demonstrate the identical themes and roles, the cast from Act I plays its corresponding roles in Act II. Adam transforms into Noah and the three sons Eve bore become the three sons of Noah.

Besides the craft of the actor roles and storyline, the spring musical is easily one of the most intricate performances put on by Ballard. The play conducted 44 musical numbers with choreography designed by Eia Waltzer. One of the last numbers, “Ain’t it Good,” is performed solely in sign language. The flurry of hands and feet with soulful music hypnotizing.

Accompanying the choreography are the costumes, crafted and customized to each actor on stage. “Everything is built from the ground up. There isn’t one piece that has been borrowed from a previous play so everything has been handmade for this show,” Director Shawn Riley said.

The play itself has obvious religious roots and while this may put off some individuals, “Children of Eden” is still a must see. The actors put so much emotion behind their words and let these feelings run free as tears stream down their faces. The musical is an astonishing sight, showing the talent that is within Ballard’s Performing Arts Department.

One of the most critical scenes of the play is Eve’s final prayer to God. Eve has aged greatly and her husband, Adam is long gone. Eve feels that her time is nearly up and she just wants one final conversation with her creator. After she and Adam left the garden, all communication with Father was lost, however in this scene, Father graciously speaks to her once more.

“All I want to know is what happened to Cain, it’s all Adam ever wanted to know,” Eve said, choking back soft sobs. All stage lighting is turned off except two spotlights, yellow light directed at Eve and dimmed light focused on Father in the background. Stage decorations are invisible to the audience except the twinkling stars, showing the arrival of night and Eve’s nearing death.

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Theater performing bold creation story, ‘Children of Eden’