The “Grail” podcast part two begins twenty years after podcast one. Our hero, Lance, and his mother Maya now live in the “perfect world” of Cityworld. We will learn about Cityworld, and about it’s ruthless leader, Senator Peter Klingsor. He is just about to stage a bleeding-edge experiment and upload 300 people’s consciousness onto the World Wide Web. He tells everyone that it’s safe, but Lance is not so sure……
Welcome to the third “Grail” blog. This time, I’ll talk a little bit about the characters, and where the story of the “Grail” came from.
As I said before, I got the inspiration for the basic “Grail” story after watching the PBS series on Joseph Campbell called “The Power Of The Myth”. In it, he talks about “the hero with 1000 faces”. He is the same hero who shows up in most of the cultures of the world, and has done so since the beginning of human story telling. He is Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars”, he is David Shepherd in the NBC drama “Kings”, he is even Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”. In “Grail”, the character of Lance is our “hero with 1000 faces”. It is he who must travel “the journey” that all heroes must go on, either to find themselves, save their ruler, or save their country.
The character of Lance is a man who lost his father when he was a young boy. He grew up to be a very cynical man, believing in nothing, caring for no one. He is very much the modern “anti-hero” hero. His life doesn’t really begin until the end of act one, when he decides to leave the comfort of Cityworld, and follow Justine into the Outerworld to find his father, and himself.
With the story of “Grail”, Cappy and I borrowed liberally from many different stories and myths, but we took the story “arcs” mostly from the “Fisher King” and “Parsifal” legends. Google either one of those names, and see how many hits you get!
Some of the names, we took from Wagners opera “Parsifal”. (I’m not sure which myth he based his story on). Klingsor and Kundree (spelled “Kundry” in Wagner’s version) are two of the names we borrowed from Wagner. The others - Lance, Richard and Maya Castleman, Justine, and Dr.A we made up. The “Red Knight” we took from the “Fisher King” legend, and he is one of my favorite characters. He represents the “young male energy” that boys must learn to control and channel in order to become men. The Native American culture has always been really good about this, with their rituals and “sweat lodges”. But the American culture in general has not (for quite a while at least) been good about finding a way to teach this to boys. We sort of let boys find their own way, and when their hormones start raging in their teens, we mostly leave it up to them to deal with it. (I know this from first hand experience…my father never helped me “channel” my “Red Knight energy”).
In our story, the “bad guy” is Senator Peter Klingsor. His is an amalgam of every politician in this country who has sold out to corporate interests. He is the politician who is only in it for the money and power (a few recent examples come to mind…..) and could care less about the well being of the “little people” in the country. Klingsor is a hypochondriac, and is morbidly afraid of death. He will sacrifice anything, or anyone to fulfill his dream of living forever on the world wide web. He is a metaphor for everything that has gone wrong in this country (and I’m not referring to that sad, overused phrase “family values”). This has NOTHING to do with religion. Our story also has nothing to do with the Holy Grail of legend, or of King Arthur and the Round Table (although THAT myth has it’s beginnings rooted in the “Parsifal” myth).
Richard Castleman, Lances father, is the leader of the Resistance Forces against Klingsor and Cityworld. He also happens to be Klingsor’s brother-in-law, which doesn’t make his life any easier. His character plays the part of the “King” in the “Fisher King” legend. He is wounded and locked in the castle until Lance takes his journey and learns compassion….learns, in the original story, how to “ask the right question”.
Maya Castleman is Lance’s mother, who is Klingsor’s sister, and she chooses safety for her self and her son Lance by going back to the “safety” of Cityworld. This is one decision that the American people seem to be making a lot lately…trading safety for freedom. (I told you that this musical was very political!)
Kundree is our master “Spin Doctor”. She is Lance’s fiancée, and she is also Klingsor’s secret lover. As she says in the song, “Power Is All”. But even “bad girls” get a chance at redemption, and Kundree takes it.
Justine is a made-up character who has noting to do with either myth (as far as I know). She acts as Lance’s conscience, and is part of the Resistance Movement against the tyranny of Klinsor’s rule. She is also the person who convinces Lance to finally get off his butt and take the journey he has been putting off his whole life. If you were a “Battlestar Galactica” fan, think “Starbuck” (although we wrote “Grail” long before the current “Battlestar” was on the air.)
And finally there is the character of Dr. A. He is also a totally made up character….a street person who seems to know a lot more answers than Lance does. He is also our “comic relief”, and a person who happens to be in the right place at the right time to save Lance from certain death.
In closing this blog entry, I will urge you to download the podcasts. In them you will hear parts of the songs, and have Dr. A explain a lot of the story and the world of “Grail”.
In the next blog entry, I’ll talk about recording the show, and how we did it “backwards”.
Welcome to the “Grail” podcast part one of eight. The purpose of these podcasts is to take you on a journey through the world of “Grail”. You’ll meet the characters, learn of their challenges, and hear parts of almost all the songs. Guiding you through this journey is “Dr. A”, one of the characters in “Grail”. By the end of podcast 8, you will know enough that we hope you will want to hear the rest of “Grail” and go to iTunes to download the double CD.
Podcast #1 starts on the beach in the Outerworld, where the leader of the resistance forces, Richard Castleman, is arguing with his wife Maya about what is best for their young son Lance…..for the family to stay in the Outerworld and fight Senator Klingsor (Maya’s brother, and the ruthless leader of Cityworld), or to give in and go back to the safety of Cityworld.
There will be a new podcast every week until all eight have been posted.
Come….enter the “realm of the Grail”……..