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FRIGID New York Festival 2011 – Five Questions For: John Milton’s Paradise Lost

by Karen Tortora-Lee on February 22, 2011

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Welcome back to another installment of FRIGID New York Festival 2011 Q&A!  We’ll be running these throughout February until the Festival starts, so be sure to check back to read all about the great shows that will be taking part in the festival.  Also – don’t miss the winner-take-all game of Rock Paper Scissors! Today’s Q&A is with Paul Van Dyck who plays all roles, primarily Satan, and is the puppeteer for Adam and Eve in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

This extraordinary production is a visual and technical treat replete with stunning CGI, spellbinding puppetry and first-rate storytelling.

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost

answers by Paul Van Dyck -performer

Antonio Asks: What makes FRIGID such a warm and welcoming experience for your production?

It’s a hell of a lot warmer than Montreal this time of year!

Diánna Asks: What about this play do you feel most drawn to personally, and because of that, what message do you hope the audience walks away with?

I want people to walk away from this with the understanding that although this story is routed in Judeo-Christain mythology, it carries with it unchanging truths about the human condition; that we collectively share in the life experiences of rebellion, loss of innocence, and love. But ultimately I want people to come away from this thinking “Who knew a 350 year old poem could Rock like that?!”

Karen Asks: That’s some title.  How did you come up with it – and what does it mean?

The title is often thought to refer to Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. I believe it has just as much to do with Satan’s expulsion from Heaven.

Stephen Asks: You must have a favorite part of your show.  What makes it your favorite?

My favorite part of the show are the puppets of Adam and Eve. Although they are simply paper-marcher and wires, they really seem to come to life. When I’m operating them, I sometimes feel as if I’m just a prompter for these unique little actors to tell their story.

Lina Asks: How much of your show was inspired by true events?

I was raised an atheist but have since graduated to an agnostic, so I don’t put much faith that any of this story is real. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth in the story; the struggles that these characters go through, the temptation to be something greater than ourselves, the disillusionment at the loss of innocence, and the redemption found in love and charity all exist in our lives. This story is a timeless metaphor for the human experience.

THM Bonus Question: If you could play a virtual game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with another FRIGID Show which show would you take on?  And what would you throw?

Joe: The Perfect Man! I’ve got to keep up with my fellow Canadians. Of course I’d throw down rock, good old rock, nothing beats rock.

Thanks John Milton’s Paradise Lost – for participating in The Happiest Medium’s FRIGID New York Festival 2011 Q&A.  And for playing our game!  You’re officially ROCK. You challenged Joe: The Perfect Man who threw SCISSORS.  Smart move, Paradise Lost - you smashed those scissors to smithereens! Ding, ding, ding! I declare you the winner of this round! This is how it works in the crazy world of the VIRTUAL ROCK PAPER SCISSORS TOURNAMENT!

Meanwhile, for the rest of you – don’t forget to check out John Milton’s Paradise Lost!

John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Presented by ACM Productions
UNDER St. Marks
Wed 2/23 @ 10:30pm, Fri 2/25 @ 7:30pm, Mon 2/28 @ 10:30pm, 3/4 @ 10:30pm, 3/6 @ 7:00pm

FRIGID New York Festival 2011 will run February 23-March 6 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1sr Ave and Ave A). Tickets ($10-$16) may be purchased online at or by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444. All shows will run 60 minutes long or less.

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