SUMMARY: God and Satan have been alone – and one person – the universe just the play of their united mind. Now God had decided to separate ‘good’ from ‘evil’. And the battle requires a battlefield…
The BookViral Review:
Every culture and religion reflects on the origin of evil and creation, with theatre embracing the archetypical art of reinterpretation. Almost always it’s reduced to a conflict between good and evil, but Heidenstam’s stage play, In the Beginning…, gives us a brilliantly bizarre perspective on the myth of creation and the relationship between God and the Devil. One that reflects not on the conflict between good and evil, but between polarized perspectives of right as increasingly seen from the Devil’s viewpoint. The dialogue ranges from cuttingly subtle to thought provoking and humorous as God and the Devil (names God has given them) struggle to find their equilibrium and the Devil becomes increasingly vexed at God’s seemingly whimsical creations.
With lines like, “Always be grateful God’s an Englishman. You might have been saddled with Sanskrit” and the Devil telling God “You’re turning goodness into a career” the banter is superb, but the incisive point of Heidenstam’s play is the creation of Eve who is drawn to and sympathetic towards the Devil. The latter replacing the pernicious snake of myth to give us an intriguing twist and exchange of dialogue that leaves us pondering on where we are now and where our ‘creator’ intended us to be.
In Heidenstam’s own words “Past writings are inevitably seen through the lens of current culture” and yet, In the Beginning… feels wholly contemporary as traditional values, gender roles and even morals come under increasing scrutiny. A highly enjoyable read it is recommended without reservation;