St. Luke’s United Methodist Church will be presenting “Children of Eden” from June 7 to 16.
| 2:02 p.m. June 5, 2019
One of the country’s most produced musicals is set to hit the stage at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church this weekend.
“Children of Eden” opens June 7 and will run through June 16. Featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, “Children of Eden” is a theatrical interpretation of stories from the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Act I of the musical begins with the story of creation and includes the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel. Act II of the production takes place centuries after Act I and deals with the story of Noah and the great flood.
Director Steve MacKinnon said the production is based on Genesis 1 through 9.
“It’s one of the most highly-produced shows in the country, which is interesting, (because) it is based on a biblical story,” MacKinnon said. “We have a giant cast of … 70 (people) with our orchestra and our choir and then our cast of dancers, actors, (and) we also have aerialists.”
MacKinnon added that the story of “Children of Eden” is a modern take on family and family dysfunction that covers myriad themes. The show incorporates themes such as growing up, second chances, forgiveness, acceptance and love, among others.
“It’s chock full (of lessons), and that’s one of the beautiful things about it,” MacKinnon said. “You might hear something differently in what speaks to you. … It’s very layered. ... There’s so many metaphors, (but) it’s ultimately about love.”
Victor Souffrant plays Cain in Act I and Japheth in Act II. The musical was written in a way that one actor plays the roles of both Cain and Japheth. He said one of the themes of the play that resonated with him deals with one’s actions and the effects they could have.
“I love (the) topic of actions and consequences,” Souffrant said. “The actions in the first act create consequences for the second act. However, it doesn’t end there. (The characters) have the opportunity to make other choices, (take other) actions and have better consequences. … This show has been a beacon of hope for me, and whatever choices I’ve made and the consequences that have come through, I have the ability of making better choices and continuing on breaking cycles.”
Laurel Hatfield plays Yonah in Act II. Her character is a descendant of the race of Cain, and because of that, she is denied entry onto Noah’s Ark. Despite denied entry, her character remains hopeful.
“God told Noah to build this ark so the race of Cain could be destroyed because they’ve destroyed what God created,” Hatfield said. “Yonah, the character I play, is a descendant of Cain and cannot board the ark due to a mistake that (her) ancestors made before (she) was born. … (Her character shows) that even if you’ve been, literally, oppressed your whole life and trodden on, you can still spread hope and love and even the smallest thing can make a difference in the world.”
Although “Children of Eden” is based on biblical stories, show-goers shouldn’t expect to know the outcome of the production based on the endings of the stories from the Bible. The biblical stories that inspired the musical are used in a way to help deliver different messages and lessons, MacKinnon said.
“You actually don’t know where the show is going to go because it’s not actually the Bible (stories),” MacKinnon said. “(The musical) uses the stories as messaging.”