Legendary science fiction writer, Octavia E. Butler‘s 1993 novel, Parable of the Sower, has been adapted into a musical.
The dystopian trilogy series is in the 2020s and centers on a teenager named Lauren Oya Olamina, who lives in a gated community close to Los Angeles and who possesses “hyperempathy” – the ability to feel pain and other sensations she witnesses. Society has largely collapsed due to climate change, Olamina develops her own belief system, known as Earthseed.
The adaptation was written by American folk/blues musician Toshi Reagon alongside her mother, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and will debut at New York’s Public Theater on January 8th.
“My mom Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon introduced me to Octavia’s work. Toni Morrison put us in the amazing position of teaching it at Princeton. During that class, we arc’ed the story with our music — from spirituals, rock, folk, funk — and realized that we could sing the book.
For my mother and me, the essential thing in our pieces is the singing. To us, when you are taken from your land and stripped of rights, your name, your people, your religion, and assaulted relentlessly–your home is the sound your body can make.” – Toshi Reagon