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Creation Mythology, Rock Opera, BYOB – Just Another Night For Eric Sanders

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 9, 2011

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Original Innocence

I’m always happy when I have an excuse to talk to Eric Sanders – he’s one of the most talented people I’ve run across and I love that doing what I do allows me to periodically get him to update me on what he’s doing.  A quick brush up: I first met Eric when he was re-imaging Algernon Blackwood’s The Wendigo (which scared the heck out of me) and then got to see his punchier side during Fight Fest with his crowd favorite: Last Life which was resurrected more times than (wait … I think I made this joke already.  Cher’s career?  Well, it writes itself so you fill in the blank).

Now, Eric Sanders has teamed up with Dave Nuss to bring forth Original Innocence – a Rock Opera and they’re hosting a “Symposium on Creation Mythology” on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 7 PM at the Anthroposophical Society of New York (138 West 15th Street btwn. 6th/7th Ave.).

This symposium will feature practitioners and scholars from an array of religious traditions discussing how the creation mythology of a religion creates or reflects the context for its ethical structure.

Several songs from the show will be performed, and food from the Holy Land will be served. BYOB.

Admission will be on a sliding scale (‘pay what you wish’) from $5-$50. All proceeds from the Symposium will go towards the first workshop presentation of “Original Innocence” on Friday, March 25, 2011 at 8 PM at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn.

I asked Eric a few questions to find out a little more about what I (and you) can expect from this symposium.

You’ve put together a really great program to promote your upcoming musical! How did you get all these great minds** together?

Dave Nuss (who wrote all the music and lyrics) and I wanted to find speakers who would be comfortable discussing a wide range of creation mythologies: Dave does Yoga regularly and knows John Campbell, who is a Yoga expert and teacher as well as a Columbia Religion professor, through those circles. Dave and I are both members of the Rubin Museum, and I met Harry Einhorn on a tour there about a year ago; he offered great insights into the classical Buddhist artwork on display, and we wanted to invite him to speak about the (mostly) lack of creation myths in Buddhism. Royce Froehlich is a Jungian Analyst whom Dave studied with at Columbia (Dave has a MA from Union Theological Seminary), and Dave thought it would be great to have him talk about creation myths from an ‘archetypal’ perspective. We are also adding a fourth speaker — top secret! But the hint is it might either be a female minister or a physicist.

This Symposium on The Creation Mythology will discuss “how the creation mythology of a religion creates or reflects the context for its ethical structure”. That’s a lot of topic there. Kinda like “what’s the meaning of life”. How much do you think you’ll be able to cover in one night?

The goal is for each speaker to present for about ten minutes and then begin a Q&A session which will evolve into a broader conversation amongst the attendees and participants, since we’ll have food for everyone and the event is BYOB! It should be a really fun, relaxed environment. Dave and I are really interested in fostering these conversations and helping to remove the stigma from talking about religion and mythology. We certainly don’t pretend to have any answers (yet)!

Plenty of people are interested in this type of thing. So you’ve already sold them. Give me a pitch on what to tell our readers who may be hardcore-anti “anything that smacks of religion”. What will they find appealing about this symposium?

Great question. But I will have to answer this with a question to that theoretical reader: Why are you so “hardcore-anti ‘anything that smacks of religion’”? Please come tell us! We promise not to bite, or convert you to anything you don’t already want to be converted to.


** More Information

John Campbell, Ph.D, started practicing Ashtanga Yoga in India nineteen years ago with the late Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. He began teaching in 1995 at the first center in New York City devoted to this traditional practice, and was honored in 2003 to become one the few Certified teachers of Ashtanga Yoga worldwide. In 2009 he received a Ph.D. from Columbia University for his research on Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Tantra. John is a visiting professor in the Departments of Religion at Columbia University and Seton Hall University, and he also teaches Yoga and Sanskrit at Pure Yoga in New York City where he lives with his wife and their three children.

Harry Einhorn, BA, Northwestern University, is an educator at the Rubin Museum of Art where he leads tours and training sessions for diverse groups of people. He is also a performer, director, and composer; his chamber piece “Heart Sutra,” co-written with Philippe Treuille, has been performed several times throughout the city. A student in the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, he recently returned from his second trip to Bodhgaya, India, the seat of Buddha’s enlightenment, where he was practicing meditation and studying dharma.

Royce Froehlich, LCSW-R, MA, MDiv, is a Jungian Analyst in private practice in NYC, having trainied at the CG Jung institute of NY. He is a faculty member of the CG Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology and is writing his doctorate on the effect of communications technology on the human psyche at the European Graduate School. His graduate degrees are from Columbia University, The New School for Social Research, and Union theological Seminary.

About the Show

“Original Innocence” is a rock opera conceived by Dave Nuss and Eric Sanders. A traveling troupe of performers from a new religious sect dramatically depict their theology in a tent-meeting style ‘passion play’ about the creation of the world. While their tale includes familiar characters from the Biblical narrative — Adam, Eva, Lucifer, and Satan — their myth explores more ‘Eastern’ spiritual concepts of liberation and enlightenment, redefining humanity not as corrupted by but born from ‘original sin.’ The narrative tells of the pre-historical mythology of our world, offering a tale of Adam and Eva’s ‘first love’ in which their ‘sin’ ultimately leads to our ‘salvation’: the beginning of our human existence and ability to love.

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