Based on the the poem by Milton of the same name, Paradise: Lost is a sinister thriller exploring the fall of Man and the origin of original sin. Broadway Baby investigates.
Neither man nor wife can recall a time before the First Day, and the only explanation they have for their existence is that they were created in one day, by one man, with one rule.
Tell us about your show
We can’t tell you too much, as Paradise: Lost was written primarily as a thriller, and we want to maintain an element of suspense. What we can tell you is that this original piece of theatre will take you into the dark depths of a dystopian Garden of Eden, where tall buildings stand solemn and empty, and all books have been burned. There, in the center of a bedroom filled with mismatched items, you will meet a telephone – a telephone that nobody answers. You will also meet Adam, the First Man, with his perfect smile, corduroy trousers and unfailing enthusiasm. And you will meet Evelyn. The First Woman. Neither man nor wife can recall a time before the First Day, and the only explanation they have for their existence is that they were created in one day, by one man, with one rule.
Inspired by Milton’s epic poem, Paradise: Lost is a sinister reimagining of the Fall of Man – a tale told through the eyes of the First Woman, as she is tempted into sin by the promise of love. Who can be blamed for the original sin? Adam? Evelyn? Or Him?
Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?
3Bugs has used theSpace Venues for the last three years, and previous production teams have had nothing but incredibly positive things to say about their experiences. As our Production Team is new to the Fringe, we were equally nervous as we were excited on the day that we spoke to Charles Pamment, Artistic Director, about the venues available to Paradise: Lost, however his friendly and informative approach has made the experience very easy. Not only is theSpace on Niddry Street perfectly located by being so close to the Royal Mile, but the way in which the Upper Theatre can be arranged was exactly what we had been looking for. The play was written by our Director, Hannah Aldridge, to be performed in a thrust formation in order to create an intimate, almost claustrophobic vibe, as being that it’s a psychological thriller, the play naturally places great emphasis on the feelings and words of its characters. As a Production Team, we are all very excited to be able to use a space that is new to the Fringe this year, too, and the technical team have been marvellous!
What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?
Writing a synopsis for Paradise: Lost for the Fringe Programme was incredibly difficult – it’s a tricky play to describe, due to the number of questions it tackles, and for us, this is what makes it most unique. It is truly a mixture of genres! The show features a variety of large, sometimes satirical themes, including the unanticipated consequences of religion when it is misinterpreted and placed in the hands of the wrong people, as well as the cruelty in suppressing temptation, and the power of belief. Yet whilst set amidst the dark politics of a totalitarian dictatorship, there are moments within the script that the audience may find comical – even if the dark plot makes them feel as though they shouldn’t be laughing. In the same breath, there are moments between the characters that the audience may find quite touching; particularly Adam’s unconditional (and somewhat foolish) loyalty to his wife, and the decision he makes in order to protect her, ‘because that’s what partner’s do’. This is all covered in the short space of fifty minutes!
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your show ready for Edinburgh?
Our biggest challenge has certainly been the fact that we’re a student theatre company! 3Bugs is a company run by students at the University of Birmingham, and whilst each member of the cast has been wonderfully committed to Paradise: Lost, at times the pressures of studying for a degree has made finding time to rehearse quite difficult. Hannah wrote Paradise: Lost whilst also writing her dissertation, and six members of the company were studying for their final exams during the time that we were rehearsing for our preview performance. Being a student theatre company, we have also had the challenge of creating a high quality show on a very small budget - which wasn’t easy! The production team had the task of scavenging high and low throughout Birmingham to find (preferably free, if not remarkably cheap) set and props. Despite all of this, we felt that the performance that the cast gave to students at the University was one to be proud of, and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive (and the six who were studying have now become Graduates – which is a relief!).
How did you create your show?
The idea for the show started after reading John Milton’s seventeenth-century epic poem, Paradise Lost, as part of an English Literature course. Milton’s work offers a poetic account of the story of Genesis, in which Eve eats the forbidden fruit and ultimately causes the Fall of Mankind. Once the script was written, the piece very much became a collaborative work. With the help of Co-Director Ricky Carey, the cast began to inject more and more creativity into the show with each rehearsal – offering a range of ideas about the ways in which they could enhance their characters. Lines were swapped and changed, and the characters came to life! The final scene was definitely the most thrilling part of the show to create, as by this point the actors had truly developed a true sense of their characters, and were keen to adapt their lines – Both Danny Hetherington (Adam) and Bethany Kapila (Evelyn) had strong ideas about the way Adam and Evelyn would react in the situation they find themselves in – it was very exciting! One thing that we knew from the beginning was that Paradise: Lost had to be Eve’s play. Whilst Milton’s Eve is frequently understood as stupid, careless, or easily led, our Eve (or Evelyn, as she’s named in Paradise: Lost) is a woman with quite a strong sense of independence and curiosity.
Show Name: Paradise: Lost
Production Company: 3Bugs Fringe Theatre
Venue: Upper Theatre at the Space on Niddry Street
Dates: 17th-29th August (excluding Sundays)
Times: 12:00 in week 1, and 15:35 in week 2
Twitter Handle: @3BugsLost