An Atompunk Opera, The New Albion Guide to Analogue Consciousness is a four act musical written by Paul Shapera which concludes the events set into motion by The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera.
The female lead is sing by Lauren Osborn, the male lead by Oliver Marsh, and the Narrator is replaced by a character called the Mascot 3000, who is sung by Kayleigh McKnight.
The 1st Act is concerned with Rachael,a young woman who has been imprisoned in an asylum for several years. The 2nd Act is a flashback to the previous generation, a golden age of science within New Albion. The 3rd and 4th Acts tie both past and present situations together.
A narrative framework is introduced as the listener 'viewing' the events of the opera through some sort of tablet interface (Overture). The current state of New Albion is outlined through quick anecdotes, some of which include a superhero hologram projected by college students, a ghostly rock star, and a red-headed albino girl who rules the underground blackmarket empire (New Albion 9). Having established the flavor of the city, the story focuses in on a woman named Rachael who has been held in an insane asylum for several years. It is revealed that she once carried the child of a city official, an alderman, who forced termination of the child and locked Rachael away to preserve his reputation and title. Rachael also reveals that she can hear a voice singing to her where others cannot, further evidence used against her to justify her incarceration. She steals a key and escapes, running out into the night (Rachael).
Almost immediately, Rachael is stopped by an aged man who mentions that he has been waiting for her. He urges her to take a small tablet-like device known as the Mascot 3000, stating that it will help to guide her. Rachael accepts the A.I. technology and flees from the stranger (Introducing the Mascot 3000). She hides from the authorities in a massive mall-esque sprawl of consumerism called the Shopogopolis, where she survives off of minor theft and food court leftovers. Rachael is briefly interrupted by a static-riddled song only she can hear (The Shopogopolis). Rachael and the Mascot 3000 lament the long period of isolation they've both experienced and begin to bond. The Mascot reveals that the voice Rachael hears emits a traceable signal, which they then follow to its source. Arriving at an abandoned facility full of decrepit lab equipment, the pair find the old stranger once more. He confirms that Rachael is the one he has been looking for because of her ability to hear the broadcast signal. He asks her to plug the Mascot 3000 into a console so that it can reveal critical information about the past while the rest of the old machinery powers up (What the Trite and Banal Say).
The entirety of this Act is a flashback set one generation prior to the events of Act 1 and roughly one generation after the civil war described in the Dieselpunk Opera. New Albion has been rebuilt and reunited under the Voodoopunk following, nurturing a golden age of science, technology, and prosperity. Peripheral events of the city include the rise of the Voodoopunk owned Arcadia Corp, the development and hype of 'Project Elysium', and the red-haired dwarf's marriage to the albino princess to unify the underground (New Albion 8). The Voodoopunks are preparing for the completion of their greatest scientific venture, 'Project Elysium', a doorway that will grant them access to Elysium/heaven/paradise. There, they plan to build a utopia (Kyrie). Connor Morgan is introduced, a city council member who was once in love with Amber, a prominent woman within the Voodoopunk organization. They conceived a little girl, though Amber allowed her to be used in an experiment which extracted the child's consciousness and transferred it to a tablet. The Voodoopunks thought that this process might be the next stage of human ascent before the discovery of Project Elysium. Connor never forgave Amber and has since made it his duty to hinder the Voodoopunk 'cult' however he can (Connor).
At some point after their separation, Connor and Amber each had a son with another spouse. Adrian is Amber's child, Lee is Connor's son. Lee and Adrian are deeply in love and entrenched in the Voodoopunk hype, certain that their happiness can only be realized once they reach Elysium. Although Lee loves his father, both he and Adrian decry Connor's ruthless campaign against the Voodoopunks' progress. Using his ties within the city council, Connor cuts the funding of the entire organization, unaware that Lee is a Voodoopunk himself (The Lovers). On the cusp of enlightenment and ascension, Lee and Adrian hatch a plan. Lee pretends to be incapacitated by a hex so that Adrian has leverage to blackmail Connor. Seeing his son 'possessed', Connor relents and returns funding to Project Elysium in exchange for Lee's safety. Enraged that they would use his own son against him and certain that their mission will end in ill-fated disaster, Connor vows to cease the Voodoopunk following once and for all (The Deceit).
The culmination of Arcadia Corps scientific advancement leads up to this moment: the portal to Elysium is opened. Lee, Adrian, and all but a few Voodoopunks emigrate through the gateway to paradise (The Voodoopunks' Ascension). A short transmission is heard where the 'home base' in New Albion attempts to contact those who crossed into Elysium. The only reply they receive are screams of terror, which are cut short as Connor enters the facility. Having obtained a warrant to shut the operation down, he orders the machines and equipment dismantled and confiscated. After only a few hours, the Voodoopunk facility is almost entirely gutted. Connor expresses his relief now that the Voodoopunks are gone for good, happy to return home to his only son. He calls out for Lee, only to find the house empty (Ark 1).
The listener is propelled forward a generation to return to the present time, poetically summarizing the Voodoopunks' (now referred to as 'Pilgrims') experience through the gateway. It briefly contemplates the expectation vs. reality of Elysium and laments the Pilgrims' shortsighted vision (Elysium 1). Life beyond the gate is described as a hellish, intense, and psychedelic landscape. The Pilgrims have been trapped there for roughly twenty years, fighting a losing battle against 'Angels', horrific and nightmarish creatures that seek to purge them from the dimension (Postcards from Perdition Trail). Lee has survived after all that time, though he can no longer paint due to the loss of his right arm eleven years prior. He also reveals that Adrian was killed shortly after their arrival to Elysium and that he sometimes sings into their broadcast equipment hoping that somewhere, somehow, Adrian might hear it (Lee).
For the first time in twenty years, the portal opens when Rachael is sent through with the Mascot 3000. The leader of the Pilgrims, Yaser Latef, greets her, astounded that Connor Morgan was able to finally send someone through. Yaser informs Rachael that the gate stopped working as soon as they crossed over and that everyone they tried to send back to New Albion died instantly. It was in this way that Adrian was killed, though both Connor and Yaser assert the belief that Rachael is the reincarnation of Adrian, hence why she alone could hear Lee's song broadcast through space. Rachael asks how they all survived so many years, a question answered by the arrival of the Blood Red Dogs -the same military group that antagonized the main characters in the Dieselpunk Opera. They were initially sent along to 'keep the peace' and ended up being key to the survival of the civilian Pilgrims by training them to combat the horrific Angels (Rachael Returns).
Rachael descends to an underground bunker to find Lee, eager to meet him after hearing his love songs in her head for so many years. Lee is distraught and disappointed to find that Rachael is nothing like Adrian. Bitter and feeling cheated after so many years of suffering, Lee states that he simply cannot love her as he did Adrian (The Moth). Heartbroken and disillusioned, Rachael flees from the fortifications and out into Elysium. Lee urges her to come back before the creatures kill her, though she ignores him (The Show No One Saw).
Act 4 introduces the listener to the world through the eyes of the Mascot 3000. She states that she was once the baby daughter of Connor and Amber Morgan, though Amber had her consciousness integrated into an artificially intelligent tablet (the Voodoopunks were trying to develop a higher form of human consciousness before the gateway to Elysium was discovered). The Mascot 3000 was the only successful integration before the project was de-funded to make way for the highly-anticipated breakthrough that was Project Elysium. After Connor realized his grievous error in inadvertently trapping his son across dimensions, he made every effort to rebuild the portal with the few Voodoopunks who had remained behind. Unfortunately what took hours to dismantle took years to rebuild, all while Connor gradually nurtured the development of the Mascot 3000 with lessons in compassion and empathy (The Mascot 3000).
The Mascot 3000 briefly recounts the events of Act 1, where she is given to Rachael by an aged Connor, she and Rachael hide in the Shopogopolis, and their journey through the portal to Elysium (In This Episode).
This returns the story to Rachael, who has just run from the safety of the Pilgrims, though now the story is being told from the perspective of the Mascot 3000. Lee and the remaining Pilgrims (less than a hundred left at this point) arrive to rescue Rachael, though she points out that the creatures didn't seem interested in harming her. Lee states that the Angels have never spared anyone before and apologizes for his indifference to Rachael, but the Mascot urges both of them that they are running out of time. She explains that she can rescue the Pilgrims by uploading their consciousness back to New Albion, though they will be forms of analogue consciousness, much like her. She offers a second option, though it involves the Pilgrims voluntarily going through the gate to die so that they can be reincarnated and be born into a different life in New Albion. While the Pilgrims makes their choices, she tells Lee that Connor begged her to upload him home so that he might see his son again. Lee agrees, but asks to stay with Rachael until everyone else has uploaded. He resolves to remain open-minded and asks to start again with Rachael just as the monstrous Angels arrive. Lee is killed and Rachael mourns him, though it remains unclear whether his consciousness was saved or not (The Rescue Plan).
The Angels approach Rachael and attempt to speak to her, though she cannot understand them. (It is here that a backwards message is played, revealing that Rachael is not the reincarnation of Adrian. Adrian was actually reincarnated as Connor.) The Mascot 3000 offers to translate, telling Rachael that the Angels harbored no ill will against the Pilgrims, they were simply fulfilling their purpose as the guardians of Elysium. The Voodoopunks were trapped inside and purged because they did not belong. The Angels also inform Rachael that she was able to pass through the portal because she had been to Elysium in previous lives as Priscilla McAlistair and Constance O'Brien (from the previous Steampunk and Dieselpunk operas, respectively). They offer her the opportunity to stay this time, which she accepts (The Creatures Speak).
We are briefly brought back to Connor in New Albion, who hopes he and Lee might be reunited after all these years. The song ends with him still waiting for the uncertain return of his only son (Conner Reprise). Rachael and the Mascot 3000 are accepted into Elysium, reflecting on their journey as they go (Lost Night's Lullaby). The original Narrator returns to close out the final act. She explains that only about thirty of the Pilgrims chose to continue their lives in a state of analogue consciousness; the rest chose to reincarnate for a chance at another life. The Voodoopunk religion was snuffed out after their mass emigration, never to rise again. The narrator begins to look outward to other areas, leaving New Albion behind for now (New Albion 10).
- Connor was able to communicate with the trapped Pilgrims through intermittent morse code. That is how he was able to coordinate Rachael's arrival with Yaser Latef.
- Adrian is a male, though a woman sings his part throughout the opera. This is because that is the true representation of his soul.
- Because the child used for the Mascot 3000 was conceived by Connor and Amber, this means that Lee and Adrian are her half-brothers.
- There is a nod to Lloyd Allen, the narrator of the Dieselpunk Opera, in In This Episode. He can be heard stating, "And now, it’s time to tune in to the astonishing adventures of Rachael and the Mascot 3000!"
- The Mascot 3000 uploads the Pilgrims' consciousness via an 'MCG v314' device, an updated version of the technology used in the climax of the Dieselpunk Opera. MCG stands for McGuffin, an item whose sole purpose is to further the plot of a story.
- The backwards message played in The Creatures Speak states that Rachael is not Adrian reincarnated; Adrian was actually reincarnated as Connor. Given the timeline of the opera, this suggests that reincarnation within New Albion is not necessarily bound by time in a linear sense.
- Released July 29, 2014
- Featuring Lauren Osborn (as Rachael)
Kayleigh McKnight (as the Mascot 3000)
Oliver Marsh (as Connor)
Darrel Whitney as Yaser Latef
Guitar by Matthew Broyles
Cover by Stefan Paris
- Written and Produced by Paul Shapera
Covers for individual acts by Sarah de Buck
More info and story information at the blog: steampunkopera.wordpress.com
- Q&A Trivia can be found here.