An opera based on an Octavia Butler novel has been decades in the making


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By Tracey Anne Duncan, TODAY

Marie Tatti Aqeel as Lauren Olamina “Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower,” brought to the stage by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon. (Ehud Lazin / Courtesy of The Lincoln Center)

Author Octavia E. Butler has challenged the boundaries of space and time. Now her work is influencing the stage. 

Butler’s 1993 novel, “Parable of the Sower,” is heading to Lincoln Center in the form of an opera by the celebrated librettist Toshi Reagon, co-designed with her mother, the acclaimed musician and activist Bernice Johnson Reagon. 

Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower” will make its New York City debut on July 13. 

Butler’s story is set in 2024, at a time when the U.S. is descending into climate disaster-fueled chaos and the government is becoming increasingly fascist. 

Toshi Reagon said that the timing of the show makes sense. “It’s really on time because it’s reflecting the reality that we’re all living in, whether you know the book or not,” she said. In the earlier days of the production’s decadeslong development, Reagon said that she didn’t think we — as a country or a planet — would be anywhere near the conditions described in the book in 2024. The pandemic changed her outlook. 

Check out the original article for information about the novel and play.

Another of Butler’s famous novels was recently adapted for the screen.

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