CURRENT READ

” ALL – the eternals

by P. J. deCamera

Chapter 1-

“We are the eternals,” said the man on-stage.

“We’re out here, all around, and everywhere. Sometimes we let you sense us: see; feel; hear; smell; even touch us. We’re in every town and country, on every sea and land. We’re above and below on earth and in space. We are timeless creatures, born before creation and we never die. We can change our appearance, our age, and trans-locate at will. Poof, just like a wisp of dust, we are present but an instant later nowhere to be seen or sensed. Or we can bilocate, be in two places at once, well our possibilities are infinite just as we are without limits.”

Frankie pauses.

“And” he continues, “we are sensitive, empathetic listeners.” Frankie is interrupted by a door opening, when a girl comes into the make-do warehouse turned theater. He takes note that she is a very attractive casually dressed blue eyed blonde.

“Hi, I’m Frankie. Can I help you?”

“Oh, hi Frankie, I’m Flo. They told me to be here on time, so I came a few minutes early.” she offered. “What are you doing up there? Are you here for an interview too?”

“No, I’m a new hire, they gave me a script, said to get up on this makeshift stage (he swung his arms gesturing to the step up platform of room size dimension – about 12′ by 16′) and practice the part of the male lead. They said they’d be back soon, meanwhile they went their way, I got busy, and now here you are. You brighten up the room. Glad you’re here Flo.”

“What’s the name of the male lead?”

“Oh, it’s Adam. Yeh, the play starts with the scene in total darkness and gradually lightens up like the sun rises.” Flora, pretty name for a pretty girl, Frankie noticed. “McIlman is my last name, what’s yours?”

“My whole name is Florence Marie Currier. I’m from downstate Decatur, Illinois and just came up on the train for this interview. I think my folks want me to get a job now that college is finished and Millikin University just awarded the Theatre Arts BA degree to me. Maybe we’ll get a chance to work together. Where are you from?”

“Well I’m from Springfield, downstate too. I went to Millikin, too, for a few years of Business Studies; took a time out working a factory job in Decatur, at one of the big grain plants down there; then came up here to Governors State University where I studied Theater and Performance finally receiving a BA Degree. I had to work my way through so it took me a little longer than going to school full time. I live in Frankfort, so it was a pretty easy commute to get into the city. I was glad to get this job and my lease is up in a week; I want a place nearer to the Loop.”

Frankie looked up as Flo moved close enough that he caught a barely detectable whiff of lavender. Then he saw her outfit more clearly. Her shoes were classic style casual with breathable fabric textile navy blue tops, flexible fit straps,and EVA soles for walking. Her navy blue capri pants covered her legs, they complemented the full polka dot navy blue on white skirt. Her white flared blouse with modest, but open neckline completed her attire. Classy lady, Frankie thought to himself. He also took note of the garden pattern, shoulder strapped, tote-bag of large, but not too large proportions. He wondered aloud whether Flo had bags to bring in; she replied that she’d stored them in a locker at Grand Central. Just then, the door opened followed by a brilliant flash of daylight and then the back-lit shadow of a man entering as he said, “Hello in there, I’m Noah Gomer, the Producer. Frankie and I already met, you must be Flo.”

Flo: Yes sir, yes I am, glad to meet you.

Noah: I notice you got here a little early; you aren’t due for another ten minutes, but that’s good. Join me over here (he gestured to a couple of folding chairs and card table off to one side). And, to Frankie, Noah said: You can continue your practice with the script and, we can all talk when lunch is brought over by the caterer. Turning to Flo, he asked, Have you eaten yet, I have some bagels with cream cheese and a small juice snack-packs with straws. Here, he opened the sack he’d been carrying, then spread the snack treasures on a tray for easy access. Napkins, were already on the table.

“Mmmmm,” Flo said while dabbing at a crumb on her lips between bites, “this really hits the spot, thank you.”

Noah: Good aren’t they, the deli next door had just made them. Is yours still warm?

Flo: Oh, yes, and so tasty.

Noah: While we wait for Jim Gordon, the Director for our little company who has the final say on new hires, you should know that we really liked your answer to our challenge question, on your application, that is we’re pleased with why you want to act. We also checked your school and other references and the things your professors had to say. You are absolutely sterling, and your friends back home agree. Here’s Jim now. Hey Jim, over here.

Jim: Good Morning, I see, Miss Currier and you have already met Noah, why don’t you introduce us properly?

Noah: Flora Marie Currier, meet Jim Gordon, the Director of our little play that we’re calling “ALL”. We all go by first names here and we try to keep stage-ups as taboo. So don’t let all the fancy titles bother you, just be yourself.

Flo breathed an audible sigh saying: Thank you, pleased to meet you Jim, I guess I am a little nervous.

Jim: The pleasure’s all mine, please relax and enjoy our meeting. We do want to offer you a job, Lead Actress, with us. Are you interested?

FLO: Of course, I’ve been praying you’d offer me some acting work, but never in my wildest dreams did I think you’d want me for the female lead. So, yes, my answer is yes, I’m really interested!

Jim: Okay, consider yourself hired as of right now. We’re sure you’ll like the pay and related benefits and perks so we’ll discuss those with everyone at lunch. Does that work for you? Flo couldn’t speak, but was nodding her head yes very vigorously. Jim and Noah both grinned and chuckled a little.

Jim: All right Flo, Welcome to our group, Now here’s a script copy for you to study and, Pat McGill, our Play-writer, will be at lunch with us. You’ll find him affable and open to ideas. He listens and cares so as to make certain the script gains wide acceptance for its message and presentation. But we better get busy, we’ve got two more actors coming in shortly. Flo, look over there, in the corner, that door opens to your dressing room where you can read in peace and it’s set up for you already. Here’s the key, and, if you need anything just let us know.

Flo, totally speechless, a rare event in her life, picked up her script andwent to her room, quite in a daze.

In her dressing room, she laid down her bag on a cot; looking around she saw the clothes rod, makeup table with lighted mirror plus a bench to sit on. There was a standing full-length mirror next to the table and she saw the reflection of a reading table with lamp and a comfy looking chair. Just behind was a door that led to a half bath … and Flo, happily took advantage of that necessary room, washed quickly (the cold water refreshing to her face and the plush towel to dry with … that felt good. A quick reach for the script, Flo turned on the lamp and sunk into the chair to read.

Outside in the ‘theater pro-tem’, Noah and Jim were talking to two new people: Neal Kelly and Zillah Stihl were the two newcomers, Noah was telling Jim Gordon. Zillah recently graduated from Central Florida University with a degree in Theater; Neal had received his BA in Theater and Performance and has nearly finished that program’s Master of Arts Degree at University of Chicago. Zillah just happened to be in Chicago to visit some friends, Neal lives with his ‘Auntie’ in a very nice Townhouse on the near south-side. Her parents live in the Villages of Marion County, FL. Neal’s parents live near New Orleans. And, apparently the two new candidates had just been hired, the little troupe now has four cast members.

NOAH, aloud, to everyone: “Okay it’s nearly lunch time. Anybody hungry?”

Everybody in unison replied “YES!”. So Noah said: “The deli where our bagels came from is around the corner, I’ve reserved their private dining area, it’s perfect for our group and provides some privacy so we can answer questions you surely have. Everybody good with that?” Getting agreement Noah led the charge to the deli where Abe, the owner took charge and guided them to the room. Abe saw that they were seated and had his staff bring in all sorts of food dishes and condiments, plus drinks. He invited them to help themselves and he left, closing the double doors so they were in private.

Noah: Okay, let’s say grace, then we’ll eat and have some table talk. Jim, will you please offer this meal up .

Jim: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Bless us O Lord and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Okay, let’s eat.

Zillah: I can use a good Reuben Sandwich and a cold drink. Look, there’s chicken salad, sausage and biscuits, and ham. I thought a guy named Abe would have all kosher food. What’s his story? Is he not Jewish.

Noah: He’s related to me, a few times removed, his mother is a cousin to my wife. They are Jewish descendants, but practicing Catholics. One of our relatives a long time ago, came into the church of Christ and Catholicism stuck. Besides, Jesus was also a Jew.

Zillah: Reminds me of my family story except my Dad is a Hasidic Judist and Mom is a Catholic. Me, I’m pulled both ways, so I still want a Reuben Sandwich.

By now, the rest of the crew had their meals and were already eating, Zillah wasted no more time. She grabbed her sandwich, some chips, and a cola. Lunchtime was quiet except for the gnoshing sounds of satisfaction.

<sound effects of gnoshing – insert here>

Noah: (after the last bites were taken) In the name of the Father, the Sob, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. we give thanks, Almighty God, for all your benefits, who live and reign world without end. Amen. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. So, question and answer time, who wants to go first?

Neal raising his hand, looks around the table, getting nods all around: Well, I know you hired us; now can you tell us about stuff like money, rules, hours, terms of employment and such as that?

Jim Gordon: Well, let’s start with your jobs. Frankie has the male lead of Adam who becomes transfigured to become Noah then into Gomer, and finally into today’s new form, he becomes yet another version of himself – yet to be named and created by our playwright, here to my right, Pat McGill. Pat will bring us up to date when we get over to our residence. Flo has the role of Eve, in the beginning, and she also transforms into other characters. You Zillah and Neal will need all the versatility at your command because you’ll play multiple roles, even in the same scenes. Finally, we’ll have to recruit two capable children for those scenes needing the young ones. So, those, in brief, are your job descriptions, and of course, as Director, I’m your performance leader. Now, let me hand the rest of your story to the boss, Noah Gomer whose name you’ll see on your paychecks. Noah, please take over now.

Hah, Jim, you say that like you’re waiting on me to build the Ark. (laughter) Perhaps, then our first perks should be mentioned. Housing is one of those, transportation, costumes, meals, and money are those perks. Money, here (hand-off of envelopes addressed to each of the little company) are some expense advances for your needs during our production time. We also have a brand new living/working complex right on Lake Shore Drive for our work and study time together. Clothing for your work (uniforms so to speak) are also provided as is transportation while you are on-site working. Your salaries will be discussed individually and I’m sure you’ll find yourselves well-compensated, especially because you get royalties on all items, productions, and performances that result from your work on stage. As for our financial backing, I’ve had our CPA’s provide copies of our Balance Sheet and other relevant Financial Declarations for your personal and private information. These are meant to enhance any due diligence that I encourage you to perform. When you’re satisfied let me know individually. Let’s turn to production now. Pat McGill, our Playwright is working with Jim Gordon to arrange a meeting with all of us so he can bring us up-to-date. I see that we all have a copy of the script. So, our next order of business is to visit our new Company domicile. We’ll have a small studio over there, but our rehearsals will continue on-stage at our temporary theater-in-the-rough from whence we came before our meal.

If everyone is ready, our ride awaits. The group walked out the private door of their dining room to the waiting white, stretch limo at the curb with the door held open by a liveried, white gloved chauffeur. He offered his hand to the ladies as they eased first into the fully appointed and spacious passenger area.

“Wow,” Flo exclaimed excitedly, “leather seats and a well-appointed, fully-stocked, bar and snack compartment. Ohhh, and the cushions are so soft. Just, wow, double-wow! Wow, wow, wow.”

Zillah: Yeh, this beats my Dad’s mud-car. (She recalled the car he took around town for errands an older model small-size compact clunker. The same car he drove to the stables when he had to clean out the stalls and groom their horses.)

The two guys, Frankie and Neal followed the girls in, equally awed, but trying to be cool, they both acted like this was everyday stuff for them. Truth be known, neither one of them had been in a limo since high school prom. They did sigh in unison when they found their seats though, the smooth, soft leather seemed to surround and capture them, the new car smell filled their senses. The guys were as overwhelmed as the ladies.

“Dang,” said Neal. Frankie just nodded, smiled and leaned back in as feel of the leather was so soft and smooth. Jim and then Noah entered and took their seats, obviously used to these luxury accommodations. And, then the limo was in motion, but minus clunky bumps or heavy traffic noise. Within minutes they arrived at the building with Lake Michigan on the right, and a brand-new building on the left under which, through the overhead doors that closed behind them, they exited the limo at an elevator door to their right and immediately next to a lobby entrance. The garage behind them looked spacious to them as their driver moved the limo toward parking and other doors beyond … and, while well-lit, they were inside the lobby so quickly that details were lost to be examined some other time.

In the lobby, a glistening room obviously luxurious with granite floor, marble and mosaic wall showing the GENESIS of cosmos and earth.

The ceiling was painted with an unusually illuminated article of different creation image (source unknown):

Opening a door next to the lobby led to a small restaurant which was a storefront on Lake Shore Drive that simply announced itself to the passers-by as the Cafe’ Genesis.

Through the multi-paned front windows, all total, the windows were 50 feet long and 8 feet high facing the Lake. This view showed sturdy sidewalk tables with linen cloths comfortable cushioned chairs lining the Lake Shore Drive that separated their building from the Park and the Lake beyond.

Inside, 15 more tables with linen cloths and cushioned chairs (4 to a table) in the main 30- foot by 50-foot dining area. Away from the front and taking up the rest of the restaurant are was the separate kitchen, invisible to diners except for the doors to and from that kitchen. Looking across the dining area they could see french doors that opened to (they would find out quickly) the private dining room complete with private elevator, and doors leading to the parking garage on one side and the Lake Shore Drive on the other. Of course, these private passages led from another private lobby to the private dining area. The spacious room also offered a high ceiling, about 12 feet high. And the lighting delivered plenty of illumination to read, yet not so bright as to disturb one’s peace. Every detail appeared just right and very tastefully done.

Noah, leading the tour said, “We’re expected in our private room for this afternoon’s meeting and they’ll have drinks and snacks available too. So let’s go in and get comfortable, shall we? And those in need of refreshing, the necessary rooms are in the lobby, so just pass through the meeting room. Meanwhile, the rest of us can settle in. We’ll meet for an hour starting, say, 2 P.M. “

Entering the Meeting Room, Frankie immediately grasped that this room came very well equipped. He began a tour of the facility.

“Man” he said, “look at he Audio/Video center, and the laptops at each place with smart-phones too.” The television 60 inch screen was showing a muted news show of some sort with a pair of talking heads obviously jabbering at each other, looking almost constipated with their serious frowns as they delivered their version of the real world story today. And, promptly at 2 P.M. the TV screen blanked off while Noah called the meeting to order.

Noah: Welcome to your home away from home. Pat McGill why don’t you take over and discuss “All the eternals”? Pat took over the podium at one end of the table

Pat: I admit that I’m a writer not an actor, of course, there were grade school plays and the high school class play, but my steady girl said ‘no way’. So, obviously my route took a different but parallel path compared with yours. “All the eternals” is a story about people who are aware of the ‘forever-ness’ of human being. Along with knowing their infinite nature, they view their lives on earth as warfare between good and evil. They want to be good, but they keep getting tempted and sometimes they fail. Sound familiar? Somehow our heroes prevail and find their way apart from evil and tending to the good. What I hope makes this story unique is that all of the characters win out and live happily ever after, but only after fighting and conquering the evil that seems chronic. They fall, they get back up. They fall again and again. Each fall gets worse than the one before. Now, it’s your turn. Any questions?

“Well” Neal said, who are the bad guys in this play?”

Pat: There really are no ‘bad guys’, but there are legions of evil spirits who are out to ruin good whenever they can. They are unseen sneaks lurking for people to ruin.

Flo: How do you know when these evil spirits are lurking and ruining?

Pat: First of all, they are always lurking; but they usually ruin by tempting from outside, and in rare cases they get into a person and then all hell breaks loose. Public figures like politicians and performers are obvious targets, and all too often, examples of demonic possession. Then there are everyday criminals, rioters, looters, murderers, rapists, bullies, liars, cheats, slanderers. It might be easier to sort people out by their acts. When you do, it gets simpler. Two groups generally work: do-gooders versus evil-doers. One or the other, good or evil; it’s a choice we all have. Not so much that they are always evil or always good, but they tend toward doing good or doing evil.

“Yeh, drunks and addicts are great examples.” said Zillah.

Frankie: For sure and there are the sneak thieves in the locker room.

Flo: And, the gossip-girls at lunch.

Pat: You all seem to get the gist of who the evils-doers are, and how to know what’s going on. Watch out for the subtle foils, you know, people who aren’t paying attention and drift across lanes leaving wrecks behind them without even knowing they caused the wrecks.

Jim: Don’t forget the ‘innocent bystanders who don’t want to get involved and so just let evil have its own way, like watching the bullies beat-down on some kid forcing her or him to ‘join’ the gang.

Pat: Hey gang, I think we covered the general idea and now, I think Noah has a few items to discuss. Noah, please take over.

Noah: Okay, the rest of the day, we need to get you all settled in and oriented to your new work-home and the house rules plus privileges, schedules, benefits, things of that sort. So let me be brief then you’ll have some time to yourselves for exploring and settling in.

Noah then laid out the scheme of things, giving handouts, room assignments, P.I.N.s for their personalized access as authorized. When that was finished, he adjourned the meeting saying they’d next meet for breakfast.

With that, the four actors took to the hall and the elevator. The two guys were on the third floor; the ladies rooms were on the fourth floor. Sean and Frankie got off on their floor, Flo and Zillah stayed on for the next floor up. On that last level they looked at one another both wondering what to do for dinner.

Flo: I’m pretty tired, I think I’ll just pass. Anyway I want to read the script some and get to bed so I can go to Mass in the morning.

Zillah: Yeh, that sounds good to me too; except tomorrow’s not Sunday, so what’s up with Mass?

Flo: I try to go everyday, it help[s keep me on track. Why don’t you come along, There’s that Franciscan place and the driver will get us there and back here in time for breakfast.

“You know Flo, that’s a good idea, I wonder if the guys would join us. I think they both said they are Catholic.” said Zillah.

Flo: All right, great, let’s check out our rooms and meet here in a few.

Okay, see you in a little bit. Flo turned south to her apartment, Zillah’s was on the North end. Both faced East with a Lake view. The Elevator foyer led further to the west of the building toward storerooms and a freight elevator. The building must have a full city block footprint, thought Flo as she walked into her apartment.

She found herself in an entry complete with an ample coat closet, and facing that was a bench seat and mirror, the light came on automatically and she found an umbrella in the closet which had ample hangers, shelves, and rods for coats and boots. Now entering the next area, as the entry light went out and a living room lamp came on, the kitchenette was on her left and a nice living room ahead with a picture window overlooking Lake Shore Drive. It was completely and tastefully furnished a huge entertainment center was on the left wall sofa, chairs and table on the right, The hardwood floors were graced with an expensive-looking area rug. A short hallway led to the two bedrooms on the very South of the building. Again well-furnished only the view here overlooked the Chicago River and she could just see some of the ‘magnificent-mile’ further south. Each bedroom had its own walk-in closet and full bath complete with soap, towels and a full closet for necessary supplies. Oh my, Flo thought, look at that, they even stocked up with towels, shampoos, tissues. Oh yeh, she thought as she rummaged through the bounty. Having satisfied that curiosity, she checked out the fridge. She found a diet soda and popped the top. Sipping the drink she took the tour and everything was grand. She plopped on the couch for five and just then there was a knock on the door. Come on in she said.

Hey, it’s your downstairs neighbors, are you decent? Sure, come on in. Zillah and I were gonna come and check in on you guys in a little bit.

What’s up?

“What’s all the racket?” they heard from the hall as Zillah came down to see for herself.

Flo said “Hey grab a place to sit and we can hang out for a few. We were just talking about our plans for tonight and tomorrow morning. You know, if you guys want to, we can order a pizza brought up here and we could all make plans together.

The phone to the restaurant below was just a tap away. Flo ordered a large Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza with sides enough and drinks for all. The guys wanted beer and the girls preferred red wine.

Four tired actors chatted, made plans to attend the early mass, let the limo service know, and called it a night around 8 PM. The concierge service said they’d come clean-up after dinner, so bone-tired Flo gave them a call and they were in and out within fifteen minutes.

Flo headed for the shower and within half an hour she was tucked in bed and sound asleep. The five a.m. wake-up call would come all too soon. Her night prayer went like this: Thank you God for a wonderful day and for my new friends and for all your blessings. Into your hands O Lord, I commit my spirit. Amen

Chapter 2 –

Next morning: Frankie was praying Our Father who are in Heaven …

Flo was praying Hail Mary full of grace …

Neal was praying Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Zillah was praying I believe in God and in His Son

Baths, showers, and dressing occurred quickly and by 6:45 A.M. the whole company including Noah, Jim and Pat met the four actors in the garage and began to enter the Limo. Nah said ” we were told you wanted to attend Mass at Saint Peter’s this morning so we decided to join you. The family that prays together, stay together.” Quiet thoughts descended on them all. The ride was quick in the morning traffic.

Mass ended with the Blessing and the family/company rode back to break fast in their home base private dining room where a hearty meal energized them for the first big day.

Altar at St. Peter’s in the Loop

Then, Noah announced four more people would be joining the family in the meeting room. Meanwhile the group had some free time to get better acquainted……

The four people showed up together and, as it turned out they were all related; Dad, Mom, Son, and Daughter. Noah welcomed and introduced them: Please welcome the Cody family. father Carl, our Company Stage Manager; mother Carol who takes care of Costumes; and, the twins, Cameron and Cara, who will join our actors with their own variety of roles. And, for now, this is our Company named All the eternals. Today we begin building our product over at the Factory (our production facility where we first met for interviews. This is our group dining and meeting room. Your homes, that is your apartments are of course upstairs. Our parking garage is available to your guests and you will be given access codes so they can just drive in and park in your assigned places in the garage. With no further business, take a 30-minute break and meet in the garage where our rides will load us for the ride to the factory. We’ll be there from 10 AM to 4 PM daily Monday through Friday. We’ll have breakfast meetings together each morning from 8 AM to 9 AM. Evenings and weekends, you are on your own. Okay, break time, see you at the limos.

A short ride south across the Water Tower Bridge plus a couple miles brought them to the factory where they beheld a new billboard sized sign that read “COMPLETE CREATION COMPANY”.

Now they could tell people who they worked for; Marvelous!

“And,” said Carol, who had taken command of center stage, “you six actors belong to me for costume measurements and then I’ll give you over to Carl for some stage information he wants to share. Cora and Cameron, I have your sizes so you can just relax till your Dad’s ready for his meeting. The rest of you, come up here.”

Here are forms you can fill in with your sizing info, and don’t worry if you don’t know because I’ll measure you, with your help, / as well, just to inspect what we expect.

Carol gave each actor two sheets, one a set of instructions with an illustration of measurements to be taken, the second with the measurements as given and as taken. She then directed the actors to their dressing rooms where a seamstress would visit the ladies and a tailor would help the gentlemen. These two people were on loan from the costume company located just a couple of miles from the the Factory.

When the measuring was complete and the actors properly dressed once more, Carol thanked the costumers and called all six actors to gather around her. She began showing them her initial costume sketches and discussed the need for several changes of costume.

Taking Nick and Flo first, Carol explained their ‘armor of light’ costumes for the Garden of Eden scene. For the first scene, they would be fitted with full body stockings, form fitting, yet modestly so. The material would be such that light could be directed at them and would be reflected brilliantly from the costume to give the effect of armor of light that was extremely bright; light so bright as to make viewers squint and still not so intense as to harm the eyes of onlookers. The effect would be other-worldly. She held up a sample swatch to the glare of a flood lamp and the effect was amazing. Plus when the lamp was out, the material appeared to be un-colored, Fig leaf aprons, and animal skin costumes were also laid out in the sketches. A sketch of a dragon-like ‘serpent’ costume, and then the angel with revolving fiery sword was in the pile of sketches. – three acts of three scenes each with new costumes in each scene, there were over 50 sketches just for the Company of six actors and even more for the extras who would be used as needed. This was indeed a major production. And the actors still needed to meet with Carl.

“Okay,” said Carol, “take a fifteen-minute break and meet back here with Carl who will tell you a little about stage magic.”

Carl welcomed the actors back and this time Cameron and Cora joined them.

Carl: Carol was right to call our staging work ‘magic’ The word ‘magic’ as we think of it, means illusion. For example, Carol will you hold up that bolt of the body suit cloth and let it drape, thanks, now watch what iour lights and filters can do.

A technician with a switchboard threw a couple of switches and the cloth changed colors from no-color to flesh color. with another switch, the background went green, but the bolt of cloth stayed flesh; then, another witch and a blue sky above and forest below suddenly appeared behind Carol and her bolt of flesh colored cloth. Gasps of Oh’s and Ah’s came from the cast of actors.

Carl: Well, that’s only a small sample of our ‘magic’, now, listen to this.

The sound of a real jungle emerged from unseen speakers. Animal noises, moving about growling, purring, cooing, wind rustling were all heard. Then images of roaming beasts of the jungle and birds of the air appeared. Water rushing, as if from a river, could be heard.

And yet there was more: an aroma of the jungle-like scents could be smelled.

Carl: So, do you get the picture? he asked. “wow,” responded the cast as one voice. Carl continued: We want the audience completely engage with all their senses, so (he beckoned a worker to hand out small sacks to each person) you’ll find some goodies in your sacks, like nuts, dates, figs and fresh spring water. Plus small cloth napkins made from costume remnants. You see, don’t you, we’ve now engaged the audience through their senses: we’ve involved sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste in our little drama of experiences for the audience to enjoy. This is where you, as actors get to add the human touch. And, in this way we hope to make our audience feel like they are part of our family.

We don’t have our foreground scenery yet, but it’s real live plants and other effects like a waterfall and real clouds overhead. It should be pretty exciting to see.

Now, I’m turning the meeting over to Pat McGill for his introduction to how his play-writing is going.

Pat: Hello again. Let’s go have a chat. (He gestured to the long table and folding chairs in an out of the way spot to the side of the auditorium seating that now fronted the stage.) Looks like Carl’s crews have been pretty busy setting things up for us. So, here’s what’s happening with the script.

Pat handed out a single sheet that outlined the Acts and Scenes. It looked very much like a table of contents.

BACKSTORY FOR THE SCRIPT “ALL- the eternals”

Act I – Creation, Flood, Prophets, Commandments

Genesis era occurs with the creation story through more than twenty-two centuries of human history leading to Moses, the commandments and beyond. Good prevails over evil, but not without trials and sufferings.

Then God spoke all these words:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything* in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their ancestors’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation-but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God. You shall not do any work, either you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your work-animal or the resident alien within your gates. For in six days, the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

You shall not kill.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

And, not much later, in eternity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave us a simpler version of commandments for us to live by, with, and in. Love the Lord your God; and, love your neighbor as yourself. Simple. Right?

Act II – Virtues & Vices

Faith, Hope and Charity. Prudence, Temperance, Justice, Fortitude.

Versus –

Gluttony, Lust, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride. 

Act III – Life, Hell and and Heaven

Thoughts, Words, Deeds, Commissions, Omissions.

Burning, Pain, Loss, Suffering.

Light, Perfection, Room, Gifts, Blessings, Eternity, Unity.

The above Acts/Scenes ‘backstories’ supply us with our themes and leads us, by way of Scripture to describe and interpret human life. It’s our job to condense this great work into an evening’s entertainment. At best, we’ll play out the essential human story in ways that relate our great joys and our great sufferings to those lived by the audience day in and day out. We want to show how the Scripture is relevant to our human everydayness.

the page should not be read as a ‘playbill’ but as a basis to guide our acts anthe scenes within. For example, Love God and your neighbor as yourself has depths of meaning intended in context with statements like this (from Scripture John 12:50): “And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

In our drama, we’ll want to show the Eternal family as a loving family, as one in union with God. And, for our audience, we want to exemplify how that all works in daily life if it is done the right way. We wish to show how this works in God, through Our Lord Jesus Christ. “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, forever and ever.” And, that’s why you were selected; you already show yourselves as trying to live holy lives. So, let’s talk about how to reconcile the commandments given by God.

Remember, God gave Adam and Eve one commandment: you may not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Next up, the ten commandments, and then the commandment to love God, others, and self. So, are these commands inconsistent with each other? Take a half hour to talk among yourselves, then you each can tell me what you concluded.

“Okay, breaks over and I am bursting to go first,” Zillah said excitedly. “You see, having a Catholic Mom and a Jewish Dad gave me lots of conflicts that I took to a priest one time. He explained that the conflicts were necessary to understand the whole megillah. I mean the Jewish people believed they were given certain Covenants and the Christians believed they were given a new Covenant. By bringing the two Covenants together, the priest pointed out that we could view this New Covenant as the fulfillment of God’s Covenant with All His people. Okay, that’s all for now, but the conflicts dissolved and so many more benefits have come along too, you know?”

“Yeh,” Neal chimed in, “like knowing you really are in the right place to get to know God, and serve our creator. Which turns into real Love for Him, each other, and our selves.”

“All that plus an understanding of what the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life are explained. I mean Knowledge of the Virtues and Vices, good and evil I mean, And Jesus as the Tree of Life- Eternal Life where we live forever through Him and with Him and in Him. It’s all mind blowing, isn’t it?” Flo asked.

Frankie shifted uneasily, and offered, “Yes, Flo, it is mind-blowing and so is the realization that we are in that eternity right? Too, we will spend this eternity in Heaven or Hell depending on what we do, don’t do, and whether we’re sorry when we mess up. Speaking for myself, well, being human makes sinful in the first place, so we have to be on our toes all the time. I think that means understanding that the devil is very real, but also that we have lots of protection through praying all the time.”

Pat spoke this time, asking: “How can we ‘pray’ all the time? I mean, what sleep, work, and tons of other distractions?”

Zillah answered: Every day, when we pray the Morning Offering, we offer “our prayers, works, joys, and suffering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In this way, to me, all that goes on in and around me, all the time, becomes part of that prayer – the Morning Offering. After all, we don’t need to be seen ‘praying in public; in fact, it’s better if we retreat into our own private room. That way we aren’t praying for appearance’s sake but rather for our own sake. Praying doesn’t need to be with fancy forms and words; praying needs to be from our souls. Anyway, that’s how I think we can pray all the time, because prayer is simply asking God to accept the offering of ourselves to His Will, for His intentions, for His Greater Glory. When we let go and let God, we have to do it completely.

Neal: Yeh, that’s right and the Bishop’s confirm it. They say,
“Prayer is our response to God who is already speaking … it engages the whole person in a relationship with God …”

Flo: And, the rewards for constant prayer are immense. I mean we are given Light, Perfection, Room, Gifts, Blessings, Eternity, and Unity when we truly reach our goal of knowing, loving and serving God. These rewards are the ones we live with for eternity. The alternative ain’t pretty.

Frankie: I think that you speak the truth Flo.

Neal and Zillah were nodding in agreement as was Pat.

“So let’s talk about the rewards, Start with Light. Who wants to go first?” Pat asked.

Frankie led off: Armor of Light comes to mind. The knowledge of good and evil seems to be diminished by being enlightened. Plus that light that comes from the Fire of Love helps us to give good examples to others. So, the reward of Light protects us and illuminates the darkness of evil while energizing our spiritual lives. In the first letter of John, scripture informs us that “All things came into being through him, and without him, not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” Clearly, life and light are unified. In short, Light is knowledge, protection, wisdom, energy, creation, being, and life itself.

Neal: And that brings us to perfection, a state of being not possible so long as we are imperfect and that won’t change until death do us part. But, there’s hope because Heaven, our goal, promises perfection and I can only imagine what that’s like. I mean, we only have the description in the Bible of how Jesus appeared when he was transfigured and then after he was resurrected from the dead, and again through visions reported by Saints like Faustina who reported visions of Divine Mercy.

Or, like the forensic rendering of Jesus.

Then, there was the Forensic Image, as reported by Popular Mechanics magazine.

Neal continued. Matthew 5:48 “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Sounds good, and easy, but …

Flo: Yeh, Neal, you know, I admit to being a “practicing Christian” I have a lot of work to do and it ain’t easy.

The group fell silent as this whole thought sank in.

Zillah: But we have so much to count on that God promised us, if we Love Him, our neighbors, and ourselves. I mean a room in His house, a perfect body, the blessing of life with Him in heaven for eternity, and unity with Him. The only thing we need to do is keep the Faith.

Frankie: Orderly lives with respect for tradition helps.

Neal: We need strong belief in Him, especially like, well — like when the neighborhood gangsters tried beating me into their gang and selling drugs.

Flo: Oh wow, how did you survive?

Neal: I guess I just learned to take a beating and still keep the Faith, but I could never have done it without God’s Grace; plus God made me pretty strong in the first place. But, yeah, I still suffered a lot. There was a bonus though when it was all over and the gangsters saw they weren’t going to get the job done with me, they just left me alone. And, I did avoid their hangouts I admit.

Pat: Well, that wraps up this session, let’s order some lunch brought in.

Chapter 3 –

The story continues, so check back daily.

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