We all know the tale of a boy and a girl, an apple and a snake. And we know what it was like to be a teenager – a time when we rolled our eyes at the things our parents told us and rebelled by getting forbidden piercings or coloured our hair in outrageous colours. And if we’re lucky, we know what it is like to belong to a family and understand the notion that blood really is thicker than water and that it is possible to share a trust that supersedes all else.
Enter EDEN, a world created by playwright Hope McIntyre. It is the world of a pair of 15-year-olds – Adam and Evelyn.
EDEN is a dystopia of post-terrorist panic, when the interests of the group overrule individual rights. It’s a place where the governing body assigns people into groups of desirable and undesirable. Fear is harnessed as a tool to segregate, marginalize and persecute the different and misunderstood. It is arguably the most dangerous weapon of all. It can divide family, trump common sense and allow the governing minority to control the masses.
McIntyre’s characters have grown up never questioning the things they were told – only to discover it is all a lie. In EDEN, McIntyre explores the reactions to this new knowledge. She asks how does one move on? How blissful is living in ignorance? What happens after you’ve bitten the apple?
“The seed for this play was planted after 9/11, in watching the use of fear tactics to justify the abuse of human rights,” says McIntyre. “It frightened me to think where that could lead us as a society.”
The production uses new media techniques to transport its audience into the world of McIntyre’s characters. Recorded and live video murals give audiences insight into the future world of EDEN, a world divided between the ruling class and the underworld of the persecuted.
EDEN is a story spanning three generations that deals with the themes of truth, justice and family. Interesting and provocative, EDEN will provide plenty of food for thought.
EDEN is directed by Winnipeg playwright and performer Sharon Bajer and features Winnipeg stage veterans Ti Hallas, Marsha Knight, Tracy Penner, Steven Ratzlaff and Tom Soares, with emerging artists Kevin Anderson, Andrea del Campo and Kevin Gabel.
Developed and supported through the Winnipeg Arts Council New Creations program and the Manitoba Arts Council, EDEN runs April 27 to May 13, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. The production is being staged at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (at the University of Winnipeg, 400 Colony St.). Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students/seniors, and can be purchased at www.sarasvati.ca or reserved at 204-586-2236.
– Jefre Nicholls is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.