The Edge of Forever
We are raising funds to produce The Edge of Forever, a new chamber operetta inspired by the ending of the Mayan Long Count Calendar on December 21, 2012. Please help us meet our goal by NOVEMBER 1, 2012 so that our operetta can be performed on this most auspicious date.
We thank you in advance for your generosity. For the ancient Maya, to make it to the end of a cycle was cause for great celebration. We hope that you will join us on the journey to The Edge of Forever.
- Elizabeth Cline (librettist and director) and Lewis Pesacov (composer)
The Maya civilization is best known for its sophisticated interlocking calendrical cycles used to weave together the past and future as mirrored by the repetition of phenomena in the natural world. As advanced astronomers, the Maya studied celestial events to predict precise intervals of time, forming the basis for their Long Count Calendar. The count begins at their creation date of August 11, 3114 BC and ends on December 21, 2012. Predictions for 2012 as the “end of the world” misinterpret Mayan cosmology. The most fundamental aspect of the Mayan belief structure is that time is without end or beginning; the end of one cycle simply allows for the dawn of the next. The Maya did not believe in fatalistic endings, rather they believed each cycle could bring about a shift in energy or a change in consciousness. The Edge of Forever examines this moment of transition and posits the possibility for a transformation in our universe and cosmic vision. Like these great cycles, love is infinite and not bound by time. While The Edge of Forever will be performed in our time, the story, like the Mayan calendar, stretches infinitely far into the past and future.
Set in the legendary world of the Mayan Yucatán Peninsula, The Edge of Forever tells the epic tale of two people destined to be together and the timeless nature of love. An ancient astronomer has been chosen by the gods to fulfill a prophecy which foretells a profound unity that will bring about the next great cycle. To realize his destiny he must abandon all for love and dwell in a cave beneath the sacred cenote—a deep, naturally formed pit of water employed for rituals and ceremonies. There he waits for untold cycles of time to be united with his beloved, whose fate is to manifest before him at the dawn of the new cycle. As told in the ancient texts and astronomy, their unity will be the catalyst for a new age of human consciousness.
The audience enters the opera in Act III, at the present moment in time on December 21, 2012—a moment in time that has been recorded in stone since the 9th century. The first two acts have taken place at some point in the past. The opera is staged as an immersive experience that begins with a procession of chorus members leading the audience into the theater with their voices. Once inside, the audience is immediately transported to the cenote where the action is already taking place. Smoldering copal incense fills the scene, where an impressionistic set of the cave reveals the shadows of sky and water. The ancient astronomer, bathed in blue-green light, circles the stage in a deeply meditative state. He is costumed in a linen tunic with jade mantle, plumed headdress, and arm and leg ornaments of iridescent feathers. He is surrounded by his offerings: gold jewelry, copper bells, obsidian arrows, bright orange pottery, and ornaments of bone and shell. His incantation, simple and elemental, invokes love and his destiny. The audience is plunged into the ritual and tension of the moment just before the lovers will be united. The opera ends here in this moment of final anticipation, open and without end.
The Edge of Forever is scored for a single tenor singer, a chorus of four female voices, and an eclectic ensemble comprised of two conch shell trumpets, woodwinds, strings, various standard and non-traditional percussion, and features eight sine tone oscillators played through a mixing board. Oscillators, originally designed and manufactured as electronic test instruments, generate pure tones at a wide range of frequencies; in this opera the composer uses the oscillators like a deconstructed synthesizer. The musical influences for The Edge of Forever include the European avant garde New Music tradition, ancient music and tuning systems, sound healing practices of the Californian New Age movement, and Spiritual/Free jazz from the 1960s and 1970s.
How will donations be used?
Primarily the funds will be used to pay our talented collaborators and eighteen-person cast (five singers, ten musicians, conductor, costume designer, and set designer). Donations will also help make our costumes and sets as impressive and magical as this momentous event. With your support we will be able to rent the perfect venue: the historic Philosophical Research Society, a Mayan Revival architecture style building in Los Angeles. Lastly, your support will help pay for documentation and recording.
When is the performance?
The live performance can and will only happen once—on Friday, December 21, 2012 [22.214.171.124.0] at the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, California.
Will it be documented?
Yes! We are working on a plan now to record the live performance and a staged performance. Your generous donation can make this happen!
Who are you?
We are two people who are inspired by Mayan myths and cosmology. This, along with a curiosity about numerology, calendric systems, and an obsession with opera and New Age spirituality and aesthetics, make us great partners.
The Edge of Forever is our second collaboration (composer Lewis Pesacov and librettist Elizabeth Cline). Our first opera, Tragedy on The Sea Nymph, an operetta in three acts starring an all dog cast, was performed at Machine Project in Los Angeles and at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. See a clip here.
Who are your cast and collaborators?
We are still in the process of confirming our choir, but thrilled to announce our other talented collaborators:
Laakan, the ancient astronomer (Tenor) - Ashley Faatoalia
Costumes - Jame Kidd and Lexie Newman (Costumes Intern)
Set design - Amanda Smith
A very special thank you to Morgan Kroll for her invaluable help and advice. And to Emily Lacy who made our Kickstarter video.
What are your incentives all about?
We have incentives at every donation level, but this is really an opportunity to support the premiere and only performance of The Edge of Forever. We hope to send them out as soon as possible, but we do have an opera to produce!
Our Kickstarter incentives are based on elements from the Mayan calendars. To read about how the calendars work visit our website: http://theedgeofforever2012.com/the-calendar/
For international shipments please add $5 to your donations - thank you!
*As a very special incentive the first 3 people to donate $144 or more will receive a one-of-a kind James Kidd Scarf, made by our costume designer Jame Kidd*
Can I increase my pledge once it’s been made?
YES! Click a blue “Manage Your Donation” button on our Kickstarter campaign page and you can enter a new amount or choose a new incentive.
Please email email@example.com or visit: http://theedgeofforever2012.com/
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenges in completing this project are keeping all the collaborators on track and getting all the work done in a short amount of time. However, we are confident we have the skills to overcome these challenges. The librettist and director, Elizabeth Cline, has 4 years of experience producing artists’ projects at the Hammer Museum and the composer, Lewis Pesacov, is a record producer as well as a musician. We both have worked in several capacities to develop and produce other people’s visions and projects. And also, we have a date to keep - a date that has been carved in stone since the 9th century. We have been developing the operetta for over 1 ½ years with this performance date in mind; it’s the inspiration and organizing principle of the work. We have to complete the operetta on time to honor the vision of the work and the great Mayan calendar and cosmology.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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