Babalon Diaries # !! Casting
This is Part 11 to a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…
Directed by occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 16, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.
Babalon Diaries No.!!
Babalon by Paul A. Green
Voices and Characters
Jack: John Whitesides Parsons – educate Californian, Frater 210 of the OTO
Ed: Ed Forman – technician at CIT – Californian, Life long friend of Jack
Crowley: Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, Frater Perdrabo 666, Master Therion,The Great Beast, Supreme Caliph of the Order of Oriental Templars etc etc. In this last phase of his life, Crowley suffered form severe asthma. A 1930’s recording of his inimitable voice survives.
Freida: Lady Freida Harris – artist, wife of Sir Percy Harris, Bart. Crowley’s loyal pupil and patron. In her 60’s Patrician English
Smith: Wilfred T. Smith. In his 50’s. suave Anglo- American. Frater 132. Crowley’s original OTO representative in California
Helen: Helen Northrup Parsons, Jack’s first wife. Californian
Betty: Sara Elizabeth Northrup, Helen’s sister. Later Jack’s mistress
Ron: Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, author, explorer, religious teacher. Mid-West
Founder of Scientology
Cameron: Marjorie Cameron Parsons, aka Candida or Candy, artist and vessel of Babalon
Police Officer/ FBI Officer/ Radio Announcer/
and Young Crowley
It’s about time for another installment of the Babalon Diaries. That Mercury Retrograde in September was a real blooper. I was so scattered I forgot to blog. Imagine!
One thing I learned hanging around the Thelemites involved with Babalon, is that many Magicians are not psychic in the least. This came as a surprise to me because I am not sure I would have been a Witch if I was not a Faery Seer, and I would not have been a Faery Seer if I wasn’t psychic. So, I wondered what drew these people to magic? Was it anything more than an intellectual, or academic interest? I think not because they were practicing magic to get results in alignment with their True Will.
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under Will” 666
That is all well and good, but if you can’t “see” the effects of your magic, how do you monitor it? How do you gauge what is happening in the Unseen? How do you know what the spirits you are summoning are doing?
It is a very dangerous activity as those of who can “see” can attest. Even Crowley, and John Dee long before him, employed clairvoyants to capture the visions and channel the spirits. Without a Seer, Magick is a case of the blind leading the blind down a dark alley in a storm.
These Magicians are all Londoners, city dwellers. My magical personality is totally tied up with nature, and nature is where the original psychic openings happened for me, and it was in nature that portals opened out into the Otherworld. When I asked about this, I was told that in cities, people are into Lodge Magic. That is why the Ceremonial Magical traditions like the Golden Dawn, and Thelema, are based in Free Masonry — it is all Temple Magic done indoors with elaborate altars and trappings like the Catholic Church was before Vatican II. This type of magic may not require psychic abilities because the rituals themselves hold the appeal, and the power that is promised is gained through study and the practice of Magic for certain results. Ceremonial Magic has much more formal rituals, very stately and beautiful ones that do indeed create atmospheres of great potency that can induce trance states and visions. In contrast, Witchcraft, and Faery Seership especially, are more spontaneous and don’t really need anything more than clairvoyance to participate in their Mysteries.
Downloading A Goddess
So, there were difficulties.
It is too easy for me to mediate deities. I did it as a dancer, and as an actress when doing Shakespearean roles. I shift into other consciousness streams when I do readings and healing work for clients. I learned very early on, in the late 1970’s, to blank my mind with meditation so that “messages” could come through from the spirit worlds and I could know it was not my imagination, or fantasy. I was taught the importance of “slaying the ego” in order to become a vessel for the gods.
So, very shortly after I began working with my Babalon script, I was moving into Babalon’s current, and it would not be long before She would be coming through.
Trouble is, that on my side of issue, I am still me. I have simply allowed Babalon to take space in my consciousness and being, and to express Herself through me. But I do I do not have multiple personality disorder. On the contrary, I am highly aware that I am still me. I just now have emotions and forces moving through me that are not quite mine — but they are also, in the sense that these emotions and forces belong to all of us, not alien.
It seems in retrospect that some of my cast members did not understand this.
The Wiz came to rehearsal smelling of roses and working the eye contact with me/ She.
I, of course was not able to separate myself from Babalon and wondered why he was attempting such an obvious seduction, as if I wouldn’t know what he was up to.
This would all play out in a rather unfortunate and somewhat silly way later on.
Babalon is a Love Goddess, and also a Goddess of Destruction, very much like Lillith.
She is red roses and blood, sex and transformation through the power of sexuality. Try to live in the world with this volatile cocktail of forces moving through you and you can easily court disaster, especially when She has Her own agenda.
A Speculative Fiction for Radio
concerning the life and death of Jack Parsons (1914-52)
This conceptual synopsis and complete script of BABALON is copyright© Paul Andrew Green 1998/2005, who asserts all rights of authorship and intellectual paternity under the 1988 Copyright Act. It may not be reproduced , developed, adapted, performed, or broadcast in any form or medium or format whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or his agent. A staged version was performed by Travesty Theatre at the Gielgud Studio Theatre, RADA, London WC1 on 16 December 2005.
The live recording is now on-line at Radio QBSaul VOICES Angela Morrow Marjorie Cameron George Sieg Jack Parsons
Anthony Lewis Ed Forman/AleisterCrowley/Harbourmaster/FBI Agent Elizabeth Daily Lady Frieda Harris/Helen Parsons/Mrs. Crowley David De Blank Wilfred Smith/Warden/ Thomas Crowley/Announcer Marysia Kay Betty Northrup
Joe Murray L. Ron Hubbard/Police Officer VISUALS Sara Mulryan SOUND Georgi Georgiev/Paul Green DIRECTOR Alison Rockbrand
See how they try to hide…
How We Met Each Other
I went to a read through at Treadwells and Alison wanted to cast me. At that point, my American accent and acting experience made me a desirable choice to play Cameron/Babalon. I didn’t want to do, especially after the incident when, script in pocket, I went to the corner shop in Highgate where I lived, and bought a few items that totaled up to 6.66. Crowely’s Magical personality as the Great Beast was, of course, 666!
I hadn’t made up my mind. Though I was attracted to the project, I was scared. I didn’t want a Goddess of Destruction coming through. Suddenly, one day when I was home, it felt like an earthquake ripped through the flat. Emotionally, I became unstable, almost crazy with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep that night and somehow got on the phone with GG, (we had just become friends) and he was very kind and supportive, but I must have been nightmare to deal with because I was basically freaking out.
A few days later, I was approached again by Pharaon about being in the play. I agreed to do it, ignoring my sense of foreboding…
A group of quite wonderful actors were assembled. But it was impossible to cast Crowley! It was weird. Here we were in the middle of London working out of an occult book shop, and we couldn’t find a middle aged to old, bald headed magician to play Aleister Crowely! The original plan was that, since the play had been written by Paul Green as a radio play, that only Crowley and Frieda Harris would be on the stage, along with a Cameron/Babalon, while the rest of the cast would be in hooded robes speaking from a gallery that runs along the top of the stage at the John Geilgud Theatre. Since Cameron/ Babalon didn’t come on until Act 2, this left the stage bare for half the play.
Weeks went by, still no Crowley. I asked my young shaven headed Goth friend to it — he would have been great because he was flamboyant, and funny as Hell, as was Crowley, but even he refused. Nor could we find an old lady to play Freida Harris.
Alison had no choice but to cast a couple of twenty somethings who were good for the roles but visually totally wrong for the parts, and keep them offstage. Anthony Lewis, who did the voice of Crowley during the rehearsals was an amazing Crowley. He found recordings of Crowley’s voice, and really nailed it. He also gave the character of the Great Beast tremendous wit and charm.
The Darkness Thickens
We initially assembled upstairs in Treadwells, in the middle of the bookshop, because another theatre group, Foolish People, were rehearsing down in the “crypt”…I remember looking out the windows at the streets and the restaurants thinking how dark it was. It was now October and night fell early all of a sudden.
I remember how ghostly it was that year. One day, my room mates, P.& K. who were Goths, had gone to Highgate Cemetery. They had met at the Whitby Vampire Festival 10 years before and were inseparable from that moment on. They were really into horror films and vampires and death and all that good Goth stuff. That night, I had a dream that some shadowy figures crept silently onto the flat and went into their bedroom. They had attracted ghosts into the house. Things were moving in a very murky direction.
The days grew darker. GG was the sound effects man. He was having trouble making it to rehearsals and the Babalon part of me was getting upset. I am not sure if I would have been unhappy about it on my own, or if the magic that was being done behind the scenes was too strong for me to take. Pharaon, who was playing Jack Parsons, also had trouble getting to rehearsals on time, and the Wiz was frequently ill with asthma — Crowley’s malady at the end of his life. As a former professional actress and dancer, I was appalled that actors would be late for rehearsals, but I also sensed that there was stuff going on among the Thelemites that I, as an outsider, was not privy to. Things would get very much weirder before I found out.
And of course, if you want to listen to podcasts of our December 16, 2005 performance of Babalon, the links are just below.
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