Friday, July 11, 2008

Finding Paradise Lost

John Basinger, educator, actor, author and long-time resident of Middletown, began memorizing John Milton's "Paradise Lost" in 1993. It's quite a daunting task seeing as there are 12 books and Milton wrote in the poetic language of 17th Century Great Britain. The first edition was published in 1667 with a revised edition 7 years later.

Basically, it's the story of "the Fall of Man", specifically Satan's dealings with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Milton allows the reader to see the "first couple" before they discover sin, how they lived and how the poet imagined they treated each other. One also gets a fuller picture of Satan, how he organized his followers and how he engineered the fall.

Now, there is a video of Basinger performing all 12 books, recorded in concert in 2001 on the stage of the Basinger Auditorium at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich. The facility, so named to honor his 2-plus decades of teaching there, gives him the room to move, to stage the piece, to make the words become part of a performance that is highly dramatic and riveting.

The video not only features the 600-minute performance (recorded over 3 days in 2001) but also an extra disk with interviews, music, and more. For more information, go to where you can also view snippets of the show and read more about this amazing theatrical event.

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