Back to Methuselahby George Bernard Shaw
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:
Candidate for Adaptation? Promising
Shaw’s epic work (actually a series of five plays) about what might happen if humans’ lives were extended long beyond our current lifespans. The play begins with Adam and Eve, and concludes 30,000 years in the future.
an excerpt:ADAM. Do not listen to her: the noise is good: it lightens my heart. You are a jolly snake. But you have not made a vow yet. What vow do you make?
THE SERPENT. I make no vows. I take my chance.
ADAM. Chance? What does that mean?
THE SERPENT. It means that I fear certainty as you fear uncertainty. It means that nothing is certain but uncertainty. If I bind the future I bind my will. If I bind my will I strangle creation.
EVE. Creation must not be strangled. I tell you I will create, though I tear myself to pieces in the act.
ADAM. Be silent, both of you. I will bind the future. I will be delivered from fear. [ To Eve ] We have made our vows; and if you must create, you shall create within the bounds of those vows. You shall not listen to that snake any more. Come [ he seizes her by the hair to drag her away ].
EVE. Let me go, you fool. It has not yet told me the secret.
ADAM [ releasing her ] That is true. What is a fool?
EVE. I do not know: the word came to me. It is what you are when you forget and brood and are filled with fear. Let us listen to the snake.
ADAM. No: I am afraid of it. I feel as if the ground were giving way under my feet when it speaks. Do you stay and listen to it.
THE SERPENT [ laughs ]!!!
ADAM [ brightening ] That noise takes away fear. Funny. The snake and the woman are going to whisper secrets. [ He chuckles and goes away slowly, laughing his first laugh ].
EVE. Now the secret. The secret. [ She sits on the rock and throws her arms round the serpent, who begins whispering to her ].
Eve’s face lights up with intense interest, which increases until an expression of overwhelming repugnance takes its place. She buries her face in her hands .
Enough material here for ten musicals. Is there enough plot and character?
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