THE PLOT SUMMARY
“We all fear death, and question our place in the universe. The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.”
— Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) to Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris.
Act One of Beyond the Mirror takes place in New Eden City in early July of 2020. New Eden has endured a number of months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The official opening of my club, The Garden Cabaret, has been put on hold. My nemesis and mortal enemy, Lobida, has also closed her club, The Dark Side, for more than three months. Both are excited to open/re-open to the public to entertain their various clientele with exciting new cabaret shows.
The 2020 presidential race is hotting up, with official nominations and running mates currently being finalised and announced. As summer kicks into high gear in New Eden love is most definitely in the air, and the truth is most definitely being exposed at every turn . . .
Saturday July 4th, 2020:
I and my fabulous cast—including Adam McCall, William Chu, and Alex Abercrombie—put on for The Garden Cabaret's official opening the first part of the show I'm developing: "The Garden of Eden Spectacular: Part 1." This is the first of a two-part show, and it outlines the arc of the human story from Eden, through the fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, up to the present day. It's enthusiastically received both by the socially-distanced audience in attendance, as well as on social media; the event having been livestreamed on FaceGram.
As I sit down in my dressing room after the show a message is posted in the comments on FaceGram: "Stop now, and close your stupid club forever, or everyone will know your secret!!" This puts me into a tailspin, and gives rise to a flurry of doubts about whether I can continue on my current trajectory into the limelight. A part of me wants to be seen and heard—that would be Angel—but a big part of me just wants to hide away from the public eye, keeping all of my secrets to myself—that would be Angelo. My deepest fear is of being publicly humiliated. Rather than wait for this threat to eventuate, however, I find the resolve to expose the secret myself—I compose a FaceGram post exposing to the world that I'm a hermaphrodite.
Meanwhile, in the male dressing room, Alex and William rib Adam for tongue-kissing Alex onstage . . . again. Adam's excuse is that he's having recurrent dreams about a beautiful girl who happens to look just like Alex looks when he's dressed as Eve in the show. Alex reveals that he has a twin sister, and that he looks just like her when he's wearing his costume and makeup. Adam is beside himself with excitement and begs Alex to arrange for them to meet; Alex agrees to arrange it for the following week.
Adam, William, Alex, and I make our way to Bernard's Bookstore for tonight's Eco-Vigilante Action Group (E-VAG) meeting. Part way there I excuse myself as I'm not feeling up to the group gathering tonight. Truthfully, I'm feeling dread, and the pits of despair are pulling me inexorably in.
The Partisan Party National Convention is being held at the Lincoln Center tonight, but is also being broadcast on huge public viewing screens all over New Eden City given that public gathering numbers remain reduced due to COVID. The boys stop to watch the broadcast on the screen in Tompkin's Square Park. Ken Abercrombie is officially named as the Partisan Party candidate for the November presidential election. Ken gives a less than humble acceptance speech, then controversially names his wife, Faye Abercrombie, to be his vice-presidential running mate. Faye gives the closing speech of the convention where she outlines her Prescription for Peace, which is greeted enthusiastically by the convention members. Faye then calls Ken back to the stage, but he's already left to be with his mistress, Lobida, at The Dark Side, where their daughter, Eve, will be singing publicly for the first time tonight. Backstage after her speech Faye is enraged!!
E-VAG convenes at Bernard's Bookstore for the first time in many months. Mrs Chu announces that Ken Abercrombie is to be the next target E-VAG want to take down. He is widely suspected of many crimes against humanity—most notably polluting the planet and tax evasion—but Mrs. Chu also suspect he has some more sinister or damaging secrets that are yet to be discovered. The plan decided upon is for Adam to audition to be a backup dancer for Lobida at TDS, where hopefully he can access material that E-VAG can use to blackmail Ken. Initially Adam declines the suggestion, but Bernard, William, and Mrs. Chu convince him to do it. Bernard gives Adam his latest invention—a pair of earrings studs which contain a microphone and a camera—to take undercover with him. Mrs. Chu then announces that she's been asked to be the vice-presidential running mate for James Brody, the Egalitarian Party presidential candidate.
In Bernard's office nook, Bernard finally gets around to telling his son, Adam, that his mother is alive, in New Eden, and wants to meet him. Adam can't believe it, is angry at Bernard, but also overjoyed that he will be re-united with his birth mother whom he believed died giving birth to him.
Later the same night Lobida performs her new show, full of sin and sex, to the crowd at TDS. Ken witnesses the show through the one-way mirror in Lobida's private boudoir. After the performance they engage enthusiastically in their domination ritual where Ken is the baby and Lobida the dominating mother. In the middle of their BDSM scene Lobida receives a cryptic message on FaceGram from her mortal enemy, Angel O . . . from me: "Leave me alone or else!!" Lobida has no idea what the message means, but she becomes enraged by the taunt none-the-less, and swears then and there to publicly humiliate me and run me out of New Eden forever.
Eve gives her first solo performance to an unenthusiastic TDS crowd.
Sunday 5th July, 2020:
The following day at our East Village apartment, my lover, Amir, supports me as my unintegrated selves—Angel and Angelo—inquire into the painful experience that's been triggered by the FaceGram threat. He encourages me to stay true to my life purpose—which is to invite all humans to wake up from the egoic trance of suffering and discover true freedom—but he also cautions me to be careful. He suggests I meet with my two best friends, Bernard and Mrs. Chu, to receive further guidance.
Adam and Eve awaken in their respective bedrooms, dress, and make their way to the gym where they bump into each other. There's a flicker of recognition, and something stirs inside each of them. Later, they each see the other checking themselves out in the mirror across the room but don't know the other has seen them. Adam is enthralled, but Eve sees Adam admiring his own reflection and assumes he is a self-absorbed narcissist like all the other men she's had relationships with so far in her life, and is disgusted but also paradoxically attracted to Adam.
Meanwhile at the Abercrombie penthouse, Faye and Ken argue about his continued relationship with Lobida. Faye threatens to expose Ken and his many secrets then leave him, but he convinces her to stay quiet in exchange for more power and status once they're in the White House. This blackmail tactic is how Faye became Ken's VP running mate. Truthfully, Faye has her eyes on becoming president herself . . . but she's not letting Ken know about that just yet.
Faye goes to TDS and confronts Lobida. She threatens her and tells her to back off but Lobida dishes up more than Faye bargained for, and Faye leaves with her tail between her legs.
Adam meets Yantra (the manager of the club and Lobida's secret lesbian lover) at TDS for his audition. She's immediately suspicious of him and tests his integrity. When Lobida arrives, however, she's instantly enamoured by Adam, and hires him on the spot; Yantra is furious. Eve, who has arrived at TDS for a rehearsal, sees Adam coming on to Lobida and is again repulsed but also paradoxically intrigued by him.
I meet Bernard and Mrs. Chu at the bookstore and share my dilemma with them. They listen intently to me while I expose my conflict, then they ask me piercing questions. As they're doing so, another FaceGram message arrives: "Very clever, exposing your secret like that: touché. If you continue, however, your life will be in danger." I'm shocked by the new threat, but discover—with Bernard and Mrs. Chu's help—that I would die in order to stay true to Love; I vow to do so with all my heart.
At the conclusion of our meeting, Mrs. Chu reveals to Bernard and myself that she's received reliable intel confirming that FaceGram has been corrupted by AI, and is using the current polarised political party system to have opposing sides go to war with one another, potentially killing humans in the process. She outlines her radical idea to transcend the current partisan political party system with a completely new order—called the Utopian Way—governed by a council of 'non-leaders.'
Later that night at TGC, I and my fabulous crew put on another show we've been working on—"Aphrodite: Goddess of Love"—which tells the tale of Antony and Cleopatra, and looks at the nature of human love and desire. It's a roaring success, but as we're taking our curtain calls a bomb explodes backstage resulting in chaos. I'm completely devastated.
Monday 6th July, 2020:
The Following day, E-VAG ambush Ken and Faye outside Abercrombie Industries headquarters with a news crew. They accuse Ken of planet polluting, tax evasion, and sexual deviancy. He denies everything, of course, threatens to sue them all, then tells a lie about Mrs. Chu being crooked to divert attention, which the media lap up. Ken is mostly grateful that they haven't yet discovered his biggest secret—that his company, AI, was the source of the coronavirus causing COVID-19. At that moment, William—who has a congenital heart defect—has a heart attack and is taken away in an ambulance.
Later the same day, Bernard has arranged for Lobida to come to Bernard's Bookstore to meet Adam. The arrangement had slipped his mind, however, and she turns up but Adam is not there; he's in the middle of rehearsals at TDS for his first show . . . with Lobida.
As Lobida is leaving Bernards' Bookstore she bumps into me as I'm arriving. I confront Lobida about the death threats and the bomb. We have a huge argument which is filmed and aired live on FaceGram. I'm devastated and humiliated, and I go into hiding in my boudoir at TGC.
Adam is the centrepiece of Lobida's performance at TDS tonight. In the middle of the number Adam and Eve's eyes lock across the club. The rest of the performers go into slow-motion with dimmed lighting while Adam and Eve, now in spotlights, remember something they forgot long ago; they fall in love. Following the performance, Lobida is so turned on she takes Adam to her boudoir and begins a BDSM scene with him. Eve witnesses this and is devastated. Adam's microphone and camera transmit the boudoir shenanigan's to Bernard's Bookstore.
When Lobida exits the boudoir to get refreshments, Adam has an opportunity to snoop around and he finds images and video files on Lobida's computer of her and Ken in compromising situations; he transmits some of the images to Bernard. As he's doing so, however, he's caught in the act by Yantra who is enraged, and locks Adam in the basement at gunpoint. Eve realises she's fallen in love with Adam but does nothing to help him.
Meanwhile in hospital, William dies, travels to a realm of light beings, meets his father, then continues into the void.
Mrs Chu and Bernard return from the hospital and announce to the others at TGC that William is dead. Alex arrives and reports that Adam has been taken hostage. We're all shattered, but in the depth of anguish and despair I find a new resolve to stand up and spread the possibility of freedom and peace to the world.
Curtain Down – Act One.
“That which does not die is awakened in the death of who the mind thinks it is.”
Act Two of Beyond the Mirror takes place in early November of 2020. It's the week of the US presidential election. While much of the city has re-opened for the past few months, everyone is getting nervous again as COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise once more.
Adam is still being held captive by Lobida, Yantra, and Eve at The Dark Side. He's torn because he's addicted to the BDSM sessions with Lobida, which include more and more dark activities and which are ecstatic like nothing he's ever experienced before, but he also wants to escape and return to his family and his life. Eve has been spending more time at TDS looking after Adam as his jailer. Bernard, Mrs Chu, and the rest of E-VAG are desperate to free Adam but they know—via his earring microphone—that he's safe, so they're biding their time.
The big event on everyone's minds, however, is that Election Day is finally here . . .
Tuesday 3rd November, 2020:
Election Day, and everyone (except Adam and myself) are out and about, attending the polling booths to vote, etc. Camera crews are filming and reporting on all the latest including interviewing candidates and their family members. The atmosphere is festive and exciting but also tense, especially with COVID-19 continuing to circulate, and vaccinations only just getting started.
I'm at home furiously writing the second part of my show, having finally been struck by inspiration just this morning after many months of feeling unconnected to my creativity. Bernard, Alex, and Amir arrive and report on what's happening outside. Together we sing part of the song I've just written which states that, "Love's the Point."
Meanwhile Eve slips away from the election day madness and returns to TDS to tend to Adam. She is masochistically drawn to being the slave to the slave. She's been feeding him, cleaning him, and tending his wounds. Adam, who is tired of being locked up, is conflicted about who to give his allegiance too, as well as wanting to escape. He begs Eve to help him. She finally gives in, tells him she's in love with him, and they hatch a plan to help him escape after tonight's show.
Later that night, Lobida performs another show with Adam as the focus. When he's offstage for a minute, Adam slips into Lobida's boudoir and pockets the hard drive with the evidence he needs on it. At the conclusion of the performance, Eve smuggles Adam out the back door of the club. He begs her to come with him but she declines.
Adam celebrates with his friends and family being free after four months being held captive, but he has only just discovered that William—his best friend in the world—is dead, and so is simultaneously grief-stricken. E-VAG has leaked more secrets about Ken to the press, and it's looking bad for him; the election is still too close to call at this stage. Bernard discovers that the hard drive Adam took is a dud, a decoy planted by Yantra, and they have nothing to defend their accusations about Ken with. Adam vows to return to TDS to retrieve the evidence they need, and this time also to bring Eve with him. Not long after, Ken is publicly arrested by the police. Faye is outwardly outraged, but secretly pleased.
Eve is suicidal and has taken a handful of Lobida's Xanax tablets to try and numb the pain. She wanders into Central Park in a disoriented daze where I bumps into her, and just manage to save her from being taken advantage of by a stranger. I see Eve in all her pain, and tells her a story about my life. Eve is grateful for the chance meeting that gives her hope and inspiration for the first time in a long time.
Wednesday 4th November, 2020:
Another news flash, this time that James Brody is missing after a helicopter accident, presumed dead. Mrs Chu calls Faye and they meet privately at the Abercrombie penthouse to come up with a plan. Mrs Chu spots a picture of Evelyn Bourne on the mantelpiece, and they connect on their shared spiritual teacher. Faye agrees wholeheartedly with Mrs Chu's Utopian plan.
That evening, Adam goes to TDS for the evidence, and also secretly for Eve. The other members of E-VAG enter TDS in disguise to support Adam. As Adam is looking through Lobida's computer, however, he's caught red-handed by Lobida. She ties him up and starts to play out a dangerous bondage scene . . .
The remainder of this scene will be kept secret for now as I don't want you to know the whole story before you see this thing, right?
Thursday 5th November, 2020:
The events of the last day are also going to be kept secret. Needless to say, things happen, and stuff gets sorted out, but who gets what, and who lives and who dies is very much up in the air...