Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
Why shouldn’t Satan (Jennifer Plotzke) be given a starring role in the telling of Paradise? God allowed her to wreak havoc on mankind by seducing Eve (Pia Haddad) with an apple of knowledge. He left us behind as silly creatures lost in the throes of love without a conscious desire for more. With evil came understanding. With pain came meaning to joy. We wouldn’t be what we are for worse or better without Satan’s hand and thus maybe we should give her thanks. Her want for power provided us open eyes. What we’ve done with that vision cannot be blamed on anyone but ourselves.
So watching Jeremiah Kipp‘s Lost + Found start with Satan waxing poetically (Laura Sweeney adapts a passage from John Milton‘s epic Paradise Lost with direct focus and loyalty) about her thoughts on her station in the afterlife with Beelzebub (Ari Rossen) was a welcome sight. Here’s a being with ambition and rage who will not back down from her beliefs and is willing to do whatever is necessary to prove to God that he cannot simply make her disappear. She’s not a red-faced demon with pitchfork to scare us by sight, but a ruthless commander-in-chief moving towards the inhabitants of a new world with but a whisper before dropping the microphone on her swiftly efficient takeover of God’s creation.
Kipp and company do their best to portray this portion of a densely timeless story with as much visual meaning as aural in just seven-minutes. The words lead us through the events, but it’s the camera’s constant framing of clasped hands that reveals intent. It’s the snake tattoo on Eve’s wrist marking her as Satan’s unwitting participant while Adam (Carl Hendrick Louis) continues his starry-eyed sleep. And it’s the indelible notion planted in this dreamer’s head that makes her question her invisible chains to this man beside her when the taste of more exists within reach. Is it greed? Jealousy? Or human nature driving her to achieve knowledge at the risk of suffering? After all, what good is paradise if it proves nothing but illusion?