Contributed by Jeffrey Sponsler
The human mind is a strange and wonderful thing. Modern biology is really good at describing each part of the brain (e.g., the parietal lobe) and what each part does (e.g., sensation), but the true definition of "What is consciousness?" has not been adequately answered.
The mind seems to be a live video and sound show with an internal ego entity who sits there and watches and listens to the show. The brain can conjure up states and such states include aggression, fear, confusion, sensuality, and contentment. The biochemistry of emotions is understood; for example, aggression is probably epinephrine and bonding is via oxytocin. The parasympathetic nervous system generates contentment and rest and is in balance with the sympathetic nervous system (which controls fight or flight emotions). Finding food or finding a mate are probably under the control of the limbic system (a brain structure that we share with fish and reptiles).
Inspired by Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar, I composed and recorded a rock opera, Etheria that is now available on CD. A long time elapsed before I ventured into that scary land of composition again. But I venture I did, and in 2014 a new opera was born. The new opera, working title The Zones, is serious science fiction unlike the bizarre and non-serious Rocky Horror Show. I borrowed a character, Polyxena, from Etheria and had her rocket crash land on an unknown planet. The planet is governed by a deranged computer who lives in the Central Zone. The Central Zone is surrounded by other zones and each zone has a psychological field and the fields influence emotions of sentient beings. The zones include Confusion, Eros, War, and Peace. Polyxena is rescued by a robot, Thalamax, and together they find another humanoid, Sargon, who crash landed some years before. Polyxena develops a crush on Sargon and the three decide to journey to the Central Zone and find and repair the computer so that they can escape the planet. As they move through the zones they are influenced by the psychological fields and that pushes a lot of the drama between Polyxena and Sargon. While on their journey that are tracked and hunted by the Phalanx (a rogue group of soldiers) and by the Pre-living Seductroids (ghostly sirens).
The music for the zones has been recorded and rough vocal tracks have been burned to hard drive. Antiqua Libbey recorded all female tracks and I did all the male tracks. The music in the play varies between rock, jazz and light classical, and there are synthesized sound effects that help to drive each scene.
In the next several months, we will be recording the vocal parts at the brand new Alaska Music and Arts Recording Studio. Vocalists are invited to contact us and audition to be part of this rock opera. Reading music is a big plus. To get an audition, send an audition CD to the following address: 1085 S Inner Springer Loop, Palmer, AK 99645
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