Phase Three: Insect godsAfter that initial conversation with Pepe, we didn't see each other for two months. He went to India to research the ancient, proto-Hindu culture of the Dravidians, who worshipped the god Rudra (who was the precursor to Shiva). When he returned home, he was bursting with inspiration for a new opera, which would be called The Temple of Rudra. Together with opera director (and professional tenor) Christopher Fuelling, he hammered out the most outlandish concoction of myth, folklore, and fantasy ever to find form as an opera.
The Temple of Rudra would be a trance-inducing ritual performed as a three-act opera. It would feature a future-primitive, postapocalyptic society whose world was nearly destroyed by those in power in a global environmental catastrophe. The only way these people could survive as a species would be to combine their DNA with that of insects. This genetically engineered society, which has been forced to lose its humanity to survive, naturally hates its leaders, who brought all this on them.
In this possible future, the society, modeled on the Dravidians, has a class system based on the four bodily humors of alchemy and a strict hierarchy of temple guardians, hyrophants, sect leaders, and sect members. In the opera, the temple guardians would be large metal sculptures with insect heads in poses of dancing Indian gods. The set would be an immense four-towered structure (the temple) that would be burned at the culmination of the event, under the last lunar eclipse of the millennium, in a symbolic destruction of this oppressive regime, celebrating the people's moment of freedom from their horrible leaders. The participants would then enter a trance state, spinning like Sufis in the raging glow of the burning temple into the desert dawn.
That, in short, is what I had undertaken to document. A nice, simple, postapocalyptic story of resentful future-primitives with a recycled ancient Hindu culture rebelling against their genetically manipulative masters. When you think about it, the story was not all that different from Les Miserables.