Towers of Eden
Simon Christian and Melissa Dalton
Outland Theatre Company
The Bread and Roses Theatre
Towers of Eden imagines a near future where climate change is causing dangerous weather patterns, food shortages and an increased level of social disorder.
A new authoritarian government comes to power promising sky farms that will solve the food problem. They bring a new social calm by shutting down all media outlets and replacing them with state-controlled news outlets which parade a stream of feel-good items such as the reduction in the crime rate and the increased life expectancy of its citizens.
The play opens on a stark stage with a spotlight on the prisoner Kai (Simon Christian) who is being tried for treason. The case carries the potential of the death penalty and at the end of the trial the audience will be given the opportunity to vote on his guilt.
In a series of flashbacks, we see key moments in his development from childhood with his sister Zoe (Melissa Dalton), both of whom became successful and contented workers.
Simon Christian and Melissa Dalton are warm and convincing as the siblings caught up in a future-world thriller. We see them not only in their later roles as well-regarded employees but also in moments from their childhood including a terrible storm that put their very lives at risk.
The turning point in Kai’s life comes when he stumbles across the existence of documents that reveal secret violence by the state. Despite Zoe’s pleas for him to remain silent about his discovery, he feels impelled to reveal it to others.
The narrative is clear, interesting and believable but never really surprising and, during its little over forty-five minute running time, doesn’t develop much dramatic tension.
The play touches on many of the current political anxieties about dishonest government and the way it manipulates news, the growing levels of civil unrest, the persecution of migrants and climate change but they are never really explored and can feel as if they are there simply as props to the adventure story. They could easily be replaced by other issues.
However, the show carries an optimistic message about the capacity of people to change and to risk their private comfort in the rebellious pursuit of justice and a better society.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna