Rhyming God

In the old days, God was all powerful, God was to be feared, God could take his most faithful servant and test his loyalty. This happened to Job. God killed all his animals, killed all his children; burned his flesh and fields. In doing this, God could test the subordinance of man to His will. In exchange for fear, man could know that ultimately it was God, not man, who was in charge. It was God, not man, who was responsible.

But then we killed Him and Humans began to rule the Earth for ourselves, in our own power. Are we too to be feared? Does our great power also make us responsible?

Welcome listeners, to the Anthropocene.

Written and performed by Adrin Neatrour in his own words, words from the Book of Job and words from Thus Sprach Zarathustra.
Production, music, sound design and art-works by Graeme Walker
2019, UK, 50 mins.

Notes from the theatre production:

“God is dead!” Across the centuries Zarathustra, Nietzsche’s alter ego calls out to human kind to embrace our true destiny. For your distraction and delight a few songs some jokes and rhyming simon riddles. As we lose our psychic balance moving into the Anthropocene – time again for clown to take centre stage and scuff up some metaphysical sawdust. Rhyming God moves between two metaphysical landscapes. The biblical world of a living god whose word is The Law; the world of Nietzsche where god is dead and no one knows.

In Rhyming God, the Prophet Job and the Prophet Zarathustra stake their claims: Job makes a moral demand on god; Zarathustra a moral demand on man. As we move deeper into the Anthropocene: Stop! Listen to the clown whose rhythms and rhymes open our eyes to the psychic space beneath our feet; learn to dance before we fall, hold on to the balancing pole and learn what Rhyming God is all about.

Aside from Greek Theatre, direct takes on God are comparatively rare in theatre. Traditionally the subject and depiction and appearance of god are regarded as blasphemous and have been censored.

In an aggressively secular age it seemed to me that it was now appropriate for god to take centre stage and be the subject of a profane drama. Performance is an expressive form that can open us up to different possibilities. Possibilities far removed from the arrogance of contemporary atheists such as Richard Dawkins, possibilities closer in spirit to the anguish of Job the mysterious god afflicted prophet of the Old Testament.

The interweaving of the utterances of Zarathustra and Job seemed to me a natural design. The latter takes as his starting point the one who makes a moral demand of god; the former takes as his starting point Nietzsche’s moral demand of man.

The words are mine. I take responsibility for interpreting both the Book of Job (St James Authorised Version) and Thus Spoke Zarathustra (trans. R Hollinghead).

Adrin Neatrour

Peter Mortimer writes in the British Theatre Guide:

"In Rhyming Gods—Songs of Job and Zarathustra, Neatrour goes for the big one. His topic is God (not a regular character in stage plays) and on a bare stage and with only the set of stepladders as a prop, Neatrour twists himself into all manner of metaphysical situations, the stylized movement at times reminiscent of silent movies, a performance that is a remarkable tour de force."

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