An Open Letter From Laura Covelli
The following letter was written by Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny co-Director Laura Covelli, and shared with the cast on the first day of rehearsal.
We realized pretty quickly that it was worth sharing beyond the walls of our rehearsal space. We hope you find as much value in it as we have.
Dearest friends and castmates,
I’m hopeful that, if there are any concerns about working on what might appear to be a “religious project”, I can allay them by saying that I do not think of our Paradise Lost AS a religious project. In my eyes, this adaptation speaks to a universal human experience, within a framework of collective spirituality; spirituality being something bigger than any one of us, and which touches us all.
At a time in our country when race, religion, sexual preference and gender are, sadly, still and once again hot-button issues, potentially further separating people, I hope that we, as a company of artists, can use these exact same BEAUTIFUL differences and all our individual unique beliefs INCLUSIVELY, to instead, come together to tell a story about humanity and equality. I think it’s a story that has just become even more imperative for us to tell.
I hope this empowers each of you to feel comfortable in contributing and sharing your wisdom and experience. There is room in this project to allow for any and all faith-based views, scientific beliefs, or even non-beliefs to be represented. We will have a tree of knowledge! That knowledge should be vast, and represent all the many things we feel are significant. Additionally, many of your characters appear in A LOT of different sacred texts so there is much to draw on from their many depictions to deepen and diversify them.
As a lover and student of religions of all kinds, I welcome conversation from any perspective that could richen and broaden our collective experience. My desire is that, as we create with openhearted exploration it will truthfully translate to our audiences - audiences that will hopefully span a cross section of many different belief systems as well - and that all will feel respected and represented. So, we should allow Milton’s beautiful poetry to guide us by framing and inspiring our work, but in no way let it limit us.