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, and both The Garden Cabaret (TGC) and The Dark Side (TDS) have been closed for more than three months. Both are excited to re-open to the public to continue entertaining 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:
Myself and my fabulous cast—including Adam McCall, William Chu, and Alex Abercrombie—put on our incredible new show, "The Garden of eden Spectacular: Part 1," at TGC. This number will be the opening number of the musical I'm writing. It's very enthusiastically received, both by the socially-distanced audience in attendance tonight, as well as on social media; the event having been live-streamed on FaceGram.
As I sit down in my dressing room after the show, a message threatening to expose my secret and saying that my life is in danger is posted in the comments on FaceGram. The message 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 my secrets to myself—that would be Angelo. The hiding is not so much for fear of my life, but for fear of being publicly humiliated.
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 Garden of Eden Spectacular" show. Alex then reveals that he has a twin sister, and that he looks just like her when wearing his costume and makeup. Adam is beside himself with excitement, and begs Alex to arrange for them to meet. Alex says he'll arrange it for the following week.
Adam, Alex, William, and myself make our way to Bernard's Bookstore for tonight's E-VAG meeting. We sing and dance to our usual joyful 'going home' song, but after a while I excuse myself and head home as I'm not feeling up to facing the group gathering tonight; truthfully, I'm feeling the pits of despair pulling me in.
The Partisan National Convention is being held at the Lincoln Center, but is also being broadcast on huge 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 somewhat-less-than humble acceptance speech, then controversially names his wife, Faye, to be his vice-presidential running mate. She gives the closing speech of the convention where she outlines her Prescription for Peace, which is greeted enthusiastically by the convention members. She 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; Faye is furious, and mortified.
The Eco-Vigilante Action Group (E-VAG) convenes at Bernard's Bookstore for the first time in many months. Mrs Chu announce that Ken Abercrombie is to be the next target they want to take down. He is widely suspected of many crimes against humanity—most notably polluting the planet and tax evasion—but E-VAG also suspect he has some more sinister 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 he can hopefully 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 a pair of earrings studs, one of which contains a microphone, the other a camera. Mrs Chu then announces that she's been asked to be the vice-presidential running mate for James Brody, the Egalitarian Party presidential candidate.
A little later, in Bernard's office nook, Bernard finally gets around to telling Adam, after 21 years, that his mother is alive . . . and in New Eden. 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 from early childhood had died in child birth.
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 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 then gives her first solo performance to the crowd of TDS.
Sunday 5th July, 2020:
The following day at our East Village apartment, having shared the death threat with my lover, Amir, the night before, Amir supports me to stay true, but also cautions me to be careful. He then advises me to meet with Bernard and Mrs Chu to share the news with them; Amir feels I need to receive some guidance as this is not something to be taken lightly or kept to myself.
I meet Bernard and Mrs Chu at the bookstore, and share my dilemma with them. They are 'True Friends' for me while I expose my conflict. They ask me piercing questions, and then guide me into a dee[ply relaxed state where I discover the moment thatI first left myself, the moment I left love, and they support me to return home; I vow to stay true to that.
At the conclusion of the session, Mrs Chu reveals to Bernard and myself that she has received information confirming that FaceGram has been corrupted by AI, and is using the partisan political party system to destroy humanity by having one side go to war with the other. She then outlines her radical idea of eliminating FaceGram, distancing herself from and hopefully disbanding the current political parties, and proposing a completely new system—which she's calling the Utopian Way—and having dual 'non-leaders.'
Adam and Eve awaken in their respective bedrooms, dress, and walk to the gym. As they walk they're both handed a note by a beggar that asks: "What do you really want?" They each express their desires. They then bump into each other inside the gym; there's some flicker of recognition. 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—who doesn't yet know that Eve is Alex's twin sister—senses some magical possibility and is enthralled. Eve sees Adam admiring his own reflection and assumes he is just a self-absorbed narcissist like all the other men she's had relationships with so far in her life. She is disgusted, but also somehow paradoxically attracted to Adam.
Adam then meets Yantra at TDS for his audition. She's immediately suspicious of him, and tests his integrity. Lobida arrives and is instantly enamoured by Adam, and hires him on the spot. Yantra is pissed off. Eve, who is at TDS for a rehearsal, sees Adam coming on to Lobida, and is again repulsed but intrigued.
Meanwhile, at the Abercrombie's Penthouse, Faye and Ken have a major blowup over his continued relationship with Lobida. Faye threatens to expose Ken and his many secrets then leave him, again, 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.
Later that night, at TGC, I and my fabulous crew put on another show, another number from the musical, this one called, "Aphrodite, Goddess of Love." It's a rapturous success. As we're taking our curtain calls, however, a bomb explodes backstage resulting in chaos. I'm completely devastated.
Monday 6th July, 2020:
The following day, Ken is approached by the beggar on his way to work and is handed a note with the question, "What do you really want?" Ken is stunned by this question, but his answer is to be successful in his presidential bid. Faye arrives at AI and joins him in exclaiming that they will win at any cost.
Simultaneously, Mrs Chu finds a note that's dropped out of Bernard's pocket that asks, "What do you really want?" She and Bernard sing about wanting a better world. Partway through they are joined by William, Adam, Amir and myself. We sing about peace, freedom, truth, a quiet mind, an open heart, etc. I'm inspired again, and I vow to continue with my musical despite the death threats and the bomb.
Faye goes to TDS and confronts Lobida. She threatens her, but Lobida dishes up more than Faye bargained for, and Faye leaves with her tail between her legs.
Later the same day, Bernard has arranged for Lobida to come to Bernard's Bookstore to meet Adam. The arrangement had slipped his mind and she turns up but Adam is not at home; he's in the middle of rehearsals at TDS for his first show . . . with Lobida.
As she's leaving Bernards' Bookstore, Lobida and I bump into each other. I become enraged, and confront Lobida about the Voice of the World singing contest humiliation as well as the death threats. We have a huge argument, which is filmed and aired live on FaceGram. I'm devastated and shamed, 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 long ago forgot; they fall in love. Following the performance, Lobida takes Adam to her boudoir and begins to dominate him; they're both very excited. Adam's microphone and camera transmit the boudoir shenanigan's to BB.
Tuesday 7th July, 2020:
The Following day, E-VAG ambush Ken and Faye outside Abercrombie Industries headquarters with a film crew. They accuse them of planet polluting, tax evasion, and sexual deviancy. He denies everything, of course, threatens to sue them all, and tells a lie about Mrs Chu being crooked, which the media lap up. Ken is mostly grateful that they haven't yet discovered his biggest secret yet . . . thank God. At that moment, William has a heart attack, and is taken away in an ambulance.
Later that day, back at TDS, Adam has an opportunity to snoop around Lobida's boudoir, 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. She's enraged, and locks him in the basement at gunpoint. Lobida returns, releases Adam, and is even more turned on by his chutzpah. They return to her boudoir where she ties him up and engages in more erotic bondage. Eve witnesses all these events, does nothing to assist Adam, but realises she's fallen love with him.
William dies. He travels into 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. I'm shattered, and close TGC indefinitely, swearing never to write the musical as it's cursed.
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 presidential election. While much of the city has been re-opened, and has generally remained open, for the past few months, everyone is getting nervous again as COVID-19 case numbers are starting to increase once more.
Adam is still being held captive by Lobida, Yantra, and Eve at The Dark Side, and he's torn because he's addicted to the BDSM sessions with Lobida—including more and more dark activities—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 is safe, so they're biding their time.
I've turned into a recluse, very down and despondent, and everyone is worried about my mental health.
The big event in 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. Camera crews are filming and reporting on all the latest, candidates and family members are being interviewed, etc. The atmosphere is festive and exciting, but also tense, especially with COVID continuing to circulate, and vaccinations only just getting started.
I'm at home feeling sorry for myself; life feels empty and meaningless. Bernard and Amir arrive and report on what's happening outside. They try to cheer me up, so I ask them, "What's the point?" Together we rediscover that love is the point, and I'm inspired once more. I realise that I really don't want to give in to fear and hatred.
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 getting 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 tells him of her plan to let him escape after tonight's show.
Lobida returns to TDS and engages Adam in another BDSM scene. In the middle of it he manages to pocket the hard drive with Ken's secrets on it. At the conclusion of the evening performance, Eve smuggles Adam out the back door of the club. He begs her to come with him, but she declines.
Wednesday 4th November, 2020:
Adam celebrates with his friends and family being free after four months being held captive at The Dark Side. He has only just discovered that William—his best friend in the world—is dead, and he is 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 information on the hard drive Adam took is a dud, a decoy planted by Yantra, and they have nothing to defend their accusations of Ken with. Adam vows to return to TDS to retrieve what they need, and also this time to bring Eve with him. Just a few hours later Ken is publicly arrested by the police .
In a quiet moment, Adam tells Bernard about meeting the girl in his dreams, and that he is in love. At the same time, Eve is admitting to Faye that she's fallen in love with the boy in her dreams.
Meanwhile, I'm furiously writing, playing, singing, getting the musical ready for it's premier. I'm possessed, on fire, and nothing can stop me now.
Thursday 5th 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 Bernard's Bookstore to come up with a plan. AI has been clearly exposed and now stands accused of using FaceGram to disrupt the current political system, and cause chaos and war. Mrs Chu proposes her utopian model to Faye, and she agrees wholeheartedly.
That evening, E-VAG meet again, and Adam is dispatched to go back into TDS for he evidence, and for Eve. The other members of E-VAG also come to 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 scene with Adam. The remainder of this scene I feel is best kept secret, as I don't want to know everything before you see this thing, right?
Friday 6th November, 2020:
The events of the last day of this story are also best kept secret. Needless to say, things happen, and stuff gets sorted out, but who gets what, and who lives and who dies is still very much up in the air. Even now...