Street | Q&A

Q&A with 'Children of Eden' Director Warren Rieutort-Louis

Street spoke with Warren Rieutort-Louis GS, the director of BAC|Drama’s “Children of Eden.” The musical will run for four performances this weekend.

Daily Princetonian: How did you first become involved with BAC|Drama?

Warren Rieutort-Louis: The thing that sparked my interest was BAC|Drama’s successful production of “Aida,” the musical, last year. I had always wanted to direct a musical, and when I saw that BAC was looking for a director for its 2014 show, I jumped on the occasion!

DP: How did BAC|Drama decide on producing “Children of Eden?”

WRL: BAC|Drama is dedicated to producing shows that, amongst other things, explore the themes of culture and race, tradition and heritage — many of which are reflected in “Children of Eden.” One of the people who proposed the show is Reena Glaser ’14, my assistant director (director of “Aida” last year), who absolutely loves this musical.

DP: How long has the company been rehearsing? What has the process been like?

WRL: Auditions took place end of October and rehearsals started beginning of November. We have such a dedicated cast and team — putting together a full-length two-act musical with over 40 scenes and songs is a wonderful challenge, and one that everyone embraced wholeheartedly. By December, we had completed Act 1 and then the development of Act 2 was completed over Intersession, interwoven with finals and term papers!

DP: Could you summarize the plot of “Children of Eden”?

WRL: “Children of Eden” is based on the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis, detailing the creation of the Earth. The first act richly explores the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden and the expulsion of Adam and Eve into the wasteland. Act 2 portrays the story of Noah’s Ark and the deluge. Whilst the plot is based on a story of faith, many more themes are explored: personal freedom versus authority, the quest for self-definition, race, love and relationships between the generations, all with a beautiful musical score.

DP: Describe your experience directing this show.

WRL: This has been such a roller coaster ride! As an electrical engineer, I had never done anything like this before, but supported by my wonderful assistant director and production team, I’m so proud of what we’ve put together. It’s a show that transports us from moments of joy and beauty, to sadness and desolation, sometimes through joyful and quirky pieces; creating these contrasts effectively is challenging but so much fun. When putting together a show, it’s remarkable how much comes together in the last two weeks of rehearsals: set, choreography, pit, etc.

DP: What has been your proudest achievement with regards to this production?

WRL: Aside from getting impossibly entangled and stuck inside a giant stone (come see the show to see what I’m talking about!), I think my proudest achievement is us bringing together this group of people from so many different horizons. “Children of Eden” is somewhat unusual in that it is written in a way that almost all 14 cast members are on the stage at the same time, with a chorus of ‘storytellers’ leading us on the journey through the show.

DP: Why do you think this show is relevant to Princeton students?

WRL: “Children of Eden” tells a beautiful story, for people of all faiths or those without faith. The themes of the curiosity of youth, hope and creating our own path in life are ones that resonate with all of us.

DP: What are the highlights of the show?

WRL: It’s a show of so many contrasts that it’s impossible to pinpoint single scenes. I’d say, as a challenge to the viewer, try to spot as many parallels between Act 1 and Act 2 as you can! Do we repeat the mistakes of previous generations? Or is there hope that we will outgrow them and become better as the centuries pass? To quote a passage from the play:

“From this day forward nights won’t seem so black,

From this day forward we will never look back.”

To see the rest of this week’s Street, click here.

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