So Down… takes place in alternate version of our world, specifically a mythologized version of Thebes, Illinois, a real town on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southern Illinois. The play began as a take on The Bacchae and I got really interested in the clash of religions that take place in Euripides’ original. Dionysus/Bacchus has returned to the place where he was born to demand that he be acknowledged and worshiped alongside his other godly brethren, but the locals are resistant.
My version is substantially different from that, but there’s still that theological clash at the center of it all. And here now, available publicly for the first time ever, is a sneak preview of my theological creations.
And just FYI, I’m not trying to start any new religions, so don’t go building me any shrines. Checks and money orders, however, are readily accepted.
This one is from the dominant religion in Thebes, aka the Faithful….
Theban Declaration of Faith
The earth is mud. We are mud. Made by Godhands out of mud./ Exalted by your Love, transformed. Made from mud into Holy Waters.
The flood came and covered us. We forgot You, cursed You./ Stagnant waters drowned us, kept us from Your grace.
You came again. Your breath raised us up, gave us holy waters./ Filled us with the waters of the sacred river./ You give us everything; we are nothing without/ Your water, Your breath.
We are lifted by You, through You, with You./ But we turned away from, turned eyes to/ The earth, the mud, the world’s waste.
Forgive your people. Have mercy. Raise us up again./ We reject the mud. We give what we are to you./ What is yours is yours again. We reject this waste/ We submit. This breath is Yours, this holy water.
Take back. Take us back.
And when the flood returns, when we are taken under,/ Lift us up again to dwell on mountaintops/ Beside You.
And here’s text that’s central to the underground movement, known to the Faithful as “Mudworshippers.”
The Transformation Prophecy
HE is moving across the bleak lands, along the salt-sea coast, across the emptiness, Into the rich heart of the world HE comes, the conquering hand, still smoldering from living fire, The flame that split the waters, that could not be drowned
Don’t you see it now? There by the sacred tomb? The flame left by the thunderbolt when the lightning flash cursed us all that time ago. Throw bodies to ground, down, down—HE moves now against the palace to demolish it.
And on the seventh day it will be remade, in his image. The waters will rise up—but not to destroy. They will carry HIM to his rightful place. The god made man made god again.
HE will be transformed and all the world set free.