THE GREAT LIBRARY MUSICAL
Q's + A's , project overview, synopsis, timeline, sources, resources, and thankyousMAKE A CONTRIBUTION
Thanks for asking. Not all contributions need be financial. The Great Library project needs voices, images (scenes, sets, faces and art), as well as promotional and technical support. Any submissions, suggestions and input will be seriously considered . All contributors will be acknowledged on the site. All rights retained by creators.
Support for the project need not be made in the present tense. So I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all friends who have already given of their time, energy and insights, either by being directly involved in the creative process, or through past kindness they've extended, enabling me to continue this work. These colleagues are being offered the status and benefits of "Collaborators" or "Angels" retroactively; and their names will be added to the "Thank You" list maintained onsite. Promises of future favors and assistance will likewise be accepted and benefits bestowed immediately.
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Sincere expressions of interest are recognized by three levels of involvement:
1 - Patrons- $10-$50.
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2 - Collaborators- $50-$100.
Entitles you to get behind the scenes and become an active participant, receiving previews of material not yet released, as well as the on-line newsletter.
3 - Angels- $100+
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Now that I'm in my 60's, I have been working alone for the most part, writing, researching and recording the material which comprises the Great Library. Over a period of 25 years, I have amassed a huge stack of hand-written notes and dozens of musical pieces in various stages of being recorded . Over this past year, it has become crucial for me to begin publication of the work, so I've been turning musical dreams into demos and rough drafts into word files, while promoting this exploratory process. I'm reaching out now to invite the participation of friends and artists whose work I admire. I have lived frugally, working as a freelance musician and occasional independent recordist , producer and masseur. I am happy to devote my free time to this project; but the demands of work for life support will limit and delay The Great Library's production schedule.
I solemnly vow to continue this work to its completion, or for as long as circumstance allows.
Your sincere demonstration of interest and support is the only thing which will keep the story unfolding before your eyes and ears.
Jerome (Jai Raam ) Jarvis .Nothing here is carved in stone
One touch of the back-space button and it all may return to the infinite nothingness from which it sprung. Everything is subject to revision. Songs may be rewritten and re-recorded, characters portrayed by different players, text and poems edited or deleted. This is a draft (though by no means a rough one). I am counting on your feedback and involvement to make the story and the telling as near to complete as any imaginary thing can be. The site itself will hopefully evolve and someday outgrow these pages.
Just like a real library, the content of this story will continue to grow and change. As the script unrolls, graphics, videos and new recordings will be inserted as they are finished. Older versions will be updated as more players, singers, actors join the project. The connective nature of this information world makes interactivity the optimal way to personalize each seeker's experience. Feel free to follow links and wander off the trail down historical side roads if you wish more in-depth background, or go with the narrative flow. I hope visitors will write with comments and suggestions on content and presentation. I'm eager to receive feedback. Communication goes both ways.
Once there were only songs and stories told by the fireside. Then words written on long scrolls of papyrus, pictures were added and covers with binding to change the shape of books. The printing press changed the very nature of knowledge, making ideas more widely accessible. Today our local libraries contain recordings of music and spoken word, movies and television programs from the earliest broadcasts to the present. Now all but a few libraries utilize computers and offer access to the wider world of the internet. The Great Library uses all these previous media as content in a dynamic presentation, to inform, entertain and stimulate discussion as it unfolds before your eyes and ears.
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
A Student of Myth and History
As I began to research this time period , it became evident that I was shamefully lacking in the historical, cultural and scientific background necessary to give the plot and characters the credibility they deserved. So I set out to try and improve my understanding. Fortunately the libraries of our time are well-stocked and accessible for anyone who cares to look; and with the rise of the internet the world's libraries have come into our homes. My reading included writings of both ancient and modern thinkers, historical and mythical accounts, as well as a vast body of arcane literature on alchemy, lost history, mysteries of the ages and alternative biblical interpretations.
As anyone who has made a study of history will have discovered, there are great gaps in our understanding of the past and huge inconsistencies even within the commonly accepted chronologies. There is more than enough uncertainty to support numerous wildly divergent theories about the doings of our ancestors. Witness the difficulty in assigning firm dates to the allegedly historical events portrayed in The Bible. Many kinds of evidence point to previous civilizations having attained high degrees of technology, but these are commonly discredited in favor of a simpler, fictional picture of our slow steady climb from primitive conditions to the more evolved, higher culture of today.
It has become obvious that many discoveries credited to Newton , Galileo, Tesla, are in fact rediscoveries which were purged from the record long ago. Some tantalizing mysteries remain unexplained. The great pyramid, Baghdad batteries, the Antithikera mechanism and the Arc of the Covenant are examples of historical artifacts which continue to baffle modern science. The Sphinx at Giza was buried up to its neck in the desert sands till the time of the middle kingdom, yet it shows clear signs of having been eroded by water. It may be much older than contemporary Egyptology is prepared to admit (10,000 + yrs since rain fell in the Sahara ). Still I encounter more questions than answers.
WHAT ? ( a synopsis) :
Time Frame (an overview of the Historic sub-plot)
Running in parallel with the “real-time” events of that fateful Easter Week of 415 AD, we make use of the vast resources of the Great Library to travel back through recorded history, to the age of myths. To the time when the worship of the Divine Great Mother was held the hearts of all people without churches or rule books or priests. Back to the days before the rise of city states, dominant rulers and professional armies. To the barely-remembered times before the land knew the cut of the plough or national boundaries. Everything which happened since, has been overlaid on this basic groundwork, and at many times attempts were made to supersede and replace the golden age which once had been. Small wonder that the vision of our essential unity has been overshadowed by dominating forces of competitive diversity.
Echoes of this lost world still resonate through the millennia and some awareness of the old religion can be seen struggling to emerge from the constraints forged long ago, still imposed on us in modern times. Our world view has been limited by institutions which promote conflict amongst many rigidly-defined forms of worship, business models, governments and long-established social structures which have consolidated power in the hands of a few for countless generations.
An overview of the succession of cultures, which have created the world in which we find ourselves, is a prerequisite for any understanding of our place in the story of humanity. Each day will lead us one step backwards in time.
Act I (Tuesday)
After leaving modern times, Geronimo Moonbeam lands in the Mediterranean Sea, is taken onboard a ship bound for Alexandria , Egypt , at the mouth of the Nile and enters this most cosmopolitan city in the last years of the declining Roman Empire . Rome itself has been raided and looted by Alaric and the Vandal hordes a mere 5 years previous . It has been 100 years since the emperor Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople, formerly Byzantium , and convened the Council of Nicea , which legitimized the Christian Church and brought the Bible into its standardised form (310 AD). The day is devoted to Mars, god of war, and the rise and fall of Rome as a world power, from Romulus to St Augustine .
ACT II (Wednesday)
Day of Odin, Hermes, Thoth, the gods of letters. Tracing the Greek (Mycenaean) culture from Homer and Hesiod, to Alexander the Great's conquest of the world and founding of Alexandria . The schools of the natural philosophers, from Thales through Socrates to Aristotle (Alexander's teacher) and the physical sciences of Archimedes, Euclid, Eratosthenes are celebrated. The evolution of democracy in Athens and the Olympic Games (which included poetry and theatre in the competitions). The legendary Theseus , first King of Athens, leads us back to the time of transition, Greece 's Dark Age and the time of the Cretan King Minos and the maze of the Minotaur.
ACT III (Thursday)
Thor's day. also Zeus and other Sky Father's who ruled with thunderbolts and lightning. The earliest appearance of electro-magnetic phenomena and meteoric iron. The mysterious Minoan civilization, based on Crete , (regarded as the birthplace of Zeus) recognized as the last vestige of the Great Mother goddess culture. Daedalus the artist, inventor and first aviator is our guide back to the earliest traces of literature, the world of Myth and Magic. The eruption of the mega volcano, Thera puts and end to the Minoan rule and ushers in the new world of the Achean Warlords of the Iliad.
ACT IV (Friday)
The day devoted to Venus/Aphrodite and goddesses of love. Isis leads us through the eons to the first emergence of Egypt from the primordial swamp. The engineering marvels of antiquity, the Great Pyramid, obelisks, and megalithic temples are backdrops to the immensely ancient history of the Gods and Pharaohs of “the Narrow Land ”. The biblical Joseph's journey and rise to power here is traced to the time of the Exodus and Moses. Ethiopia and the rest of Africa must also be examined. The end of the day brings a Passover Seder led by Jesus and the events leading up to the crucifixion.
ACT V (Saturday)
Saturn/ Cronos , rulers of time, introduce the bygone Golden Age, and Joshua recounts the Jewish people's trek through the wasteland into Canaan and their eventual settlement in the “ Holy Land ”. The Golden Calf, Arc of the Covenant as well as the first Hebrew Kings, David and his son Solomon (builder of the first temple in Jerusalem ) are key players. The desert-dwelling Essenes (preservers of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and forerunners of the Templars , narrate the history of the rebellion against Rome and last stand of the rebels at Masada .
ACT VI (Sunday)
The tumultuous rise and fall of the Mesopotamian empires is the subject of this day. The Persian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian dynasties come and go. The Patriarch Abraham's journey from Ur to the new world and establishment of his covenant with YHVH is dealt with. Cut to the fall of Jerusalem and captivity of the Jewish people and exile in Babylon , where the original texts of the Old Testament are reworked from more ancient sources . The story of the Creation, the Garden of Eden and the fall from grace, as well as Noah's Flood must be reconsidered in the light of the original Sumerian versions. Gilgamesh and Perseus serve as commentators in this chapter.
ACT VII (Monday)
The moon, cult of the mother, Celtic, Norse and Aryan achievements are intertwined with the oldest stories ever told. The originators of Hinduism and the first written books: Rig Veda and the Upanishads, which would have been preserved in the Library of Alexandria (courtesy of Alexander's sojourn to the East) along with the Ramayan , Bhagavad Gita , and works of the ancient sages. The oldest known cities, built by the Harrapans of the Indus River Valley , were abandoned when the river changed course. The resultant diaspora diffused these agrarian, cattle-raising people throughout Europe and Asia . Sanskrit is recognized as the primary root of the Indo-European languages.
BIBLIOGRAPHY and Suggested Reading
(Just a few highlights from my research, which I'm glad to share. Much has been left unmentioned.)
Arthur C. Clarke - The Lost Worlds of 2001, Fountains of Paradise - (and everything he's ever written). His short story " the Sentinel " grew into the monumental film 2001 a Space Odyssey . The story of his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick is recounted in " The Lost Worlds of 2001 ".
Ray Bradbury- Farenheit 451 -(title refers to the flash point - temperature at which paper ignites.) In a future world where reading is a subversive activity, the police round up books for bonfires. A rebel reader-on-the-run escaping the law comes upon a small group of social outcasts who have jointly memorized the world's great literature. One of the grandfathers of science fiction, I'm sure he was aware of the coincidence: 451 - 415 (AD).
Kurt Vonnegut Jr - any and all of his writings; but especially: Slaughter House 5 : "Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time" courtesy of the trans-temporal Tralfamadorians ; Cat's Cradle . The religion of Bokononism expounded, (one of his psalms made it onto a Pink Floyd album: "Nice, nice, very nice. So many people in the same device.") I will be setting the hymn: "God Made Mud..." to music. Galapagos :The ghost of Kilgore Trout reports from a world in the far future where humans have mutated into flightless waterfowl and finally out grown those "Busy Brains" which caused so much trouble. Look out for Kilgore Trout's only published novel : Venus on the Half Shell
Daniel Quinn - Ishmael . writer answers a newspaper ad in the personals column: "Teacher looking for students, must have strong desire to save the world" (the teacher turns out to be a telepathic gorilla with profound insights in to the history of human culture. ie : "Takers and Leavers", "Guests and Hosts"
Spider (and Jeannie) Robinson - Calahan's Cross-time Saloon . Time- travellers Strictly Cash (all the Callahan series, short stories and novels, set in a tavern with a distinctly odd group of highly-evolved regulars and interesting visitors." reads like Cheers meets the Twilight Zone. Anything by Mr Robinson, one of sci- fi's most underlooked authors. Especially worthy of note is the Stardancer trilogy (co-written with his wife Jeannie, the Dancer.) The company of the first Zero G dance school in orbit is enlisted to communicate non-verbally with aliens whose agenda is unclear.
Janet Paisley - Warrior Daughter - Vivid tale of early Celtic queen, Scota . I often learn more from historical "fiction" than so-called "Histories" as is also the case with :
Judith Lindbergh - The Thrall's Tale - Realistic account of Icelandic life among Leif (the Lucky's ) Vikings.
Colleen McCullough - First Man in Rome - and the whole series of 5 books ending with Caesar's Women . Great background to the Roman world and Julius Caesar's rise to power.
Lindsey Davis - The Silver Pigs, Venus in Copper, Shadows in Bronze - (and more in a series of mysteries featuring Marcus Didius Falco ) – Columbo , the private eye, in a toga. Wonderfully humorous reading. Falco , a private eye in the time of Vespasian (70 AD) travels the empire unraveling plots and conspiracies. Gives one a realistic feel for the Roman world and the political considerations of the times.
Carl Sagan - COSMOS and Demon Haunted World - One of the greatest popularizers of science. Writing and explaining to a widely untrained audience, what makes reality so interesting.
Douglas Hoefstadder - Godel , Escher, Bach - Mathematics, Art and Music interwoven threads of a grand design. A most enjoyable read for anyone. With pictures.
Stephen Hawking - God Created Integers - Not light reading; but in-depth histories of some great Physicists. The earliest mathematicians and their equations.
Isaac Asimov - Science Library – Numerous paperback collections of reprints of the great granddaddy of science and fiction, entertaining and informative articles from monthly science magazines.
Riane Eisler - The Chalice and the Blade - Explores our lost history, the Great Mother Goddess culture, from pre-history to today. Very important to an understanding of our world. Shows why the historical record had to be re-written long ago.
Julian Jaynes - Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind - What IS consciousness? How did it arise in Humans? Perhaps (says Jaynes ) it is a relatively recent phenomena, arising in conjunction with the development of written language. Fascinating viewpoint.
Douglas Hofstadter - Godel , Escher, Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid- a unique book, which uses mathematics, art and music to examine the ways in which our minds work.
L. Sprague de Camp - The Ancient Engineers - Best known as a sci-fi writer, he has compiled a comprehensive study of the earliest scientists and their contributions.
Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance . How to be a philosopher - keep asking simple questions like "what is quality?" Don't accept easy answers, keep asking. An incredibly moving life story. Also the less-well-known sequel - " Lila - an inquiry into morals". The story of an author in search of a sequel to his first book.
Peter Tompkins - Secrets of the Great Pyramid - Some marvelous insights into the ongoing explorations and theories attempting to uncover the secrets of the most mysterious building on earth.
Georg W.F. Hegel - The Philosophy of History - Dry but informative overview of the succession of world cultures from a Victorian Age Philosopher. Surprisingly engaging.
Laurence Gardner - Shadows of Solomon , Bloodline of the Holy Grail , Lost Secrets of the Sacred Arc - the official genealogist to the Council of Princes offers a unique historical perspective. Much to say regarding the clouded origins of Freemasonry.
Lincoln, Baigent and Lee - Holy Blood Holy Grail, plus The Messianic Legacy - and other writings on the mystery uncovered at Rennes le Chateau, The authors sued Dan Brown for using their research in the book and film 'The DaVinci Code' without credit. He settled before the film's release.
Henry Lincoln - The Holy Plac e . Sacred geometry on a gigantic scale. Mind boggling and verifiable.
Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion - Eminent scientist, biologist has a rational look at the survival value of the religious impulse.
David Wood - Gen-Isis – Hard-to-find book, harder to describe. A huge undertaking, simply amazing maps and charts. Changes one's way of seeing our lives on the planet.
James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Moog – The Sovereign Individual – Eye-opening futurism, difficult read. The evolution of society from feudalism to the breakdown of tyranny through the rise of the internet. This book gave me the idea for self-publishing the Great Library online rather than waiting for the funding to mount the production onstage.
Graham Hancock - the Sign and the Seal , and Underworld - Real investigative reporting of some uncanny stuff. Anything by Mr Hancock is worthwhile reading.
Zechariah Stichin - The Earth Chronicles - maybe far-fetched at times but interesting take on the Old World by one of the few scholars studying writings from Ancient Sumer.
John Dowson - a classical dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion .
Edith Hamlton - Mythology - (mainly the Greek and Roman myths, poetically retold, lovingly compiled and sensibly edited)
Plato - Dialogues , The Republic - (actually narrated by Socrates who let his star pupil take dictation (and the credit)
Bhagwan S. Gidwani - March of the Aryans - a remarkable Historical Novelization of the early Hindu people based on the oral tradition of collected "memory songs" which pre-date the Rig Veda (oldest known writings) 5,000 BC and earlier.
I'm very grateful to a few creators (I mention only those furthest out of the mainstream) who have been a major influence on my creative thinking and have thus helped shape and define this work:
Dave Sim - Cerebus - Artist, Writer, Publisher of an incredible 300-issue "comic book" (a totally inadequate description of an astounding achievement) A story of immense scope in which a Conan-style barbarian mercenary, (who happens to be an aardvark) engages in an epic adventure with a mind-boggling cast of characters drawn from contemporary real-life, history, literature and other comic books. Parodies and caricatures of Grouch Marx, Andy Warhol, Oscar Wilde, Mick and Keith enliven this brilliant story. The entire run of more than thirty years of self-published black-and-white monthly comics is still available in bound "telephone book" editions. Highly recommended. Serious, hilarious, tragic and controversial. My hat is off to Mr Sim from Kitchener Ontario and Aardvark- Vanheim press.
Carl Orff - Carmina Buranna - Opera is not easy to enjoy. While it is undeniably impressive I have rarely found it like-able. Orff's masterwork is a modern piece based on actual texts written in the middle ages by a group of defrocked monks and run-away nuns who took to the hills and forests to live a non-liturgical lifestyle. I was fortunate to encounter the Deutchgramaphone recording which includes the original Latin libretto as well as translations in English and German, making the composer's intent comprehensible. ( a rare treat in any opera). Orff uses a huge orchestra, five soloists, and two full choirs to achieve tonal textures both monumental and intimate. His style has been compared to Buddy Holly's but this is NOT a rock opera. Read the libretto before seeing it live. You will be impressed.
Chess the Musical - Lyrics by Tim Rice music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus , (formerly of ABBA) - maybe the best, least known work by the librettist of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. ( which still deserves a listen, in spite of A.L. Weber's later, commercial travesties). After being declared " unperformable " in the 80's it recently (2010) toured the world to rave reviews. So there may be hope yet for unpopular, unperformable musicals.
Steven Sondheim - Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Master of modern musical theatre, champion of unpopular themes, challenging composer and cleverest lyricist (West Side Story, Gypsy) of any era. This DARK musical may have received some of the attention it deserves since its release as a movie starring Johnny Depp and Helena-Bonham Carter (maybe the best film musical of recent decades); but see it live if the opportunity presents itself. Much memorable music and nearly singable songs, such as: " Mrs Mooney has a Pie Shop. Keeps her business but I notice something weird. Lately all her neighbour's cats have disappeared " ! ( worst pies in London ). A much lighter, but still noteworthy and seldom-seen Sondheim musical (with some relevance here) is A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - set in Roman times a very light-hearted romp with few disturbing moments. The movie version of the sixties starred Phil Silvers and Zero Mostel . The big hit from the show is the opening number: Comedy Tonight ! : " Something appealing, something appalling. Something for everyone a comedy tonight ! "
Meredith Wilson - the Music Man - Some lovely nostalgia from a much gentler world. An old-fashioned Musical based on an original premise: a hustler posing as a music teacher sets out to con the good folk of a small Iowa town. Falls in love with the Town's librarian, Marian. Ends well. The movie version, starring a young Robert Preston, is a heart-warming series of sketches, memorable characters and excellent music. A miraculous work by a great composer / lyricist. Includes a few well-known tunes: "76 Trombones", "We Got Trouble" (with a capital T) and "Till There Was You" - cannily covered by Paul during the Beatles Ed Sullivan debut, wherein he won all of our mothers' hearts.
Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage - Anyone who doesn't already know of Zappa's immense body of work may be excused for not recognizing his satirical genius topped with serious music. Many are uncomfortable with his candid treatment of adult themes and his tendency to direct sarcastic comments towards his listeners. A futuristic scenario which takes place in a world where music has been made illegal, so as to make it easier for common folk to commit crimes in the comfort of their own homes. This three-album set should be staged in the style of the musical Camelot; but its opening on Broadway anytime soon is doubtful.
Laurie Anderson - Home of the Brave (concert film), United States parts I - IV (live recording) . Carved herself a whole new genre as a performing poet/composer/raconteur/inventor/violinist/singer who tells her dreams and life experiences to the accompaniment by her music, movement, stage magic, slides and films. Her coffee table book is an informative compendium of her body of work and reveals hidden aspects of her creative process, like using a bow to drag prerecorded tape across a tape head mounted on her violin; forwards and backwards.
Lenny Bruce - (How to talk Dirty and Influence People) - is the title of this very readable autobiography by an uncompromising champion of free speech and critical thinking who masqueraded as a stand-up comic in the fifties and early sixties. He tells his own life story with an unapologetic candor which might have endeared him to a wider audience, if he had lived a few decades later. In those innocent years though, his anecdotal experiences with hookers, drugs and jazz musicians were beyond acceptable standards, so he was marginalized as a "sick" comic, persecuted, prosecuted and hounded to his untimely death by overdose. I list him here with other media because his true vocation was not authoring books; (my mom bought me two of his books when I was 18.) but rather an improvisational stream-of-consciousness mode of public speaking from smoky nightclub stages, mixing funny bits with social commentary and scathing satire. The best example of his work is a recording of his Berkeley Concert released on the Bizarre Record Label.
Alejandro Amenabar - AGORA - A touching film set in the last days of the library, focusing on Hypatia's influence on her students and her assassination. Extremely well done.
A LIBRARY of LINKS
(Here are some videos which may be of interest):
This is the excerpt from Carl Sagan's COSMOS series which started the whole thing rolling for me.
Hypatia of Alexandria, from Ancient World with Bettany Hughes
Hypatia last hellenistic philosopher (text) with anachronistic music by Beethoven (?)
These video links and some previews of the material have been posted on the Facebook page: The Great Library . Open discussions are encouraged. A similar page now on google + .
My blog on the evolution of the Great Library project. A forum for free discussion and submissions.
THANK YOU - FRIENDS of the GREAT LIBRARY PROJECT - ANGELS AND COLLABORATORS
Beth Smolar , Susan Devor Cogan, Uri Cogan, Paul Gellman, David Woodhead , Bob Burchill , Keith McKie , Linda McKie , John Jackson, Madelon Cooper, Scott Kennedy, Kerry Galloway, Michael Malcolm, Gyaan Reitman , Terry Jones, Mike Simpson, Beverly Glenn Copeland, Brent Titcomb , Judith Forward, John Johnson, Anon Angel 180, Richard Keelan, Stevie Ray Fromstein, Cedric Smith, George Koumantaros, Bob Carpenter, Greg Fitzpatrick, John Mills-Cockell