Karen Cottrell and Margo Sappington have created a new adaptation, for dance, of naturalist William Henry Hudson’s classic novel Green Mansions.
Our Green Mansions takes place in the 1850's, in Venezuela and in the Amazon rainforest of Guyana. It tells the story of Abel, the son of a recently deposed Venezuelan leader, who journeys into the rainforest in search of gold, with the intention of using this treasure to regain power. By cunning and deceit, Abel enlists the help of the forest Indians to guide him into an area of the forest that holds the gold he seeks, but that they consider ‘forbidden’ because it is protected by a spirit they call ‘the Daughter of Didi’. Once in the forest, Abel is captivated by its beauty, mystery and spirituality. Soon, he encounters the ‘Daughter of Didi’, and discovers that she actually is a young girl, named Rima, who is the last surviving member of a race whose people were ‘one with nature’ and, literally, could speak with the animals in a special common language. Though Abel is transformed by his experiences in the forest, and by his love for Rima, he cannot stop the events he has put into motion. The Indians he has emboldened enter this formerly ‘forbidden’ forest and destroy Rima and her forest sanctuary. Even after her death, though, Rima uses her special powers to restore the forest to its former glory, and reunites with Abel before she returns, as she must, to the spirit world. Abel, now understanding that Rima and the forest are ‘one’, vows to remain in the forest where he can be with her forever, and commits himself to protecting her ‘green mansions’ and to rebuilding the harmony between nature and mankind that is essential to the preservation of both.