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It's the oldest story in the book: boy meets girl. It's too bad that she's just not that into him, because this couple is inspired by the oldest story in the Good Book: Adam and Eve.
In The Bible, the third chapter of Genesis ends with Adam and Eve's banishment from Eden, and the fourth chapter begins with the conception and birth of their first child. "Adam & Eve," a new Utah independent film series, explores everything in between.
Picking up just a half-hour after leaving paradise, the series follows the couple's budding, awkward courtship as they learn to negotiate new imperfections in their world and each other. They also have to look for God after losing his more direct presence in Eden.
"It's this ultimate coming-of-age story," Davey Morrison Dillard, who stars as Adam and also wrote the script and co-directed the series, said at a recent screening in downtown Salt Lake City.
"I feel like we're all in this situation of having some idea of what paradise should be, what a perfect life should be, and negotiating a very imperfect world."
In an early scene singled out by a viewer at the showcase as particularly poignant Eve (Becca Ingram) notices her hands are covered in dirt. But when she tries again and again to rub it off, she's disappointed to find it won't. Her relationship with Adam isn't idyllic, either. He's awkward, unsure of the right things to say.
"I feel like we're able to see through Adam and Eve's relationship, when you put them in the same space and you are able to speak with them in real time, that's not perfect, either. And where do we find the humor in that, and where do we find the scary bits?" said co-director Bianca Morrison Dillard, Davey's wife.
In 2009, Bianca Morrison Dillard was helping run a nonprofit theater company in Provo to produce works from local playwrights. Davey Morrison Dillard's writing talent caught her eye, so he wrote her a script for a 10-minute play about Adam and Eve.
After they were married, when they set out to make a movie, the play with its two characters and natural settings felt like a good choice for two artists with almost no budget. All it took was fleshing out the script and scouting locations along the Wasatch Front.
"It played to all our strengths and all our weaknesses," Davey Morrison Dillard wrote on the series' Tumblr page. "All we needed was a camera, a couple of microphones and a small group of friends, and we were on our way."
After a lot of hiking and driving (and, one time, getting caught in quicksand), they found what they were looking for in the forested canyons, wide meadows and lapping lakeshores of Salt Lake and Utah counties.
They kept a special eye out for forests with barren, toppled trees to illustrate the fallen nature of Adam and Eve's world. Wide shots, while capturing the beauty of nature, also isolate the couple and underscore how vulnerable and alone they are. In a series that's all conversation, the world speaks for itself.
They've produced one season, comprising three episodes, available online at adamandeveseries.com. And they are raising money through the online crowdfunding website Patreon to produce more. The Morrison Dillards would like to further explore Adam and Eve's survival and the maturity of their relationship.
"Even though it's sort of this heightened world, I feel like we've been able to get personal in a way that feels a little bit scary and vulnerable at times about our own story," Bianca Morrison Dillard said. "Not in every way, but I feel like, Davey wrote the first script when we were dating, and so it feels very much like a younger courtship. And I feel like the next season sort of feels like what happens …"
"They're kind of after-the-honeymoon stories," Davey Morrison Dillard said, finishing her thought.
Their series isn't the first fictional exploration of Adam and Eve. Mark Twain penned several stories about the couple and (at least, in "Eve's Diary") makes the same observation as the Morrison Dillards: that paradise isn't a place; it's love.
'Adam & Eve'
Want to watch "Adam & Eve" online? Visit adamandeveseries.com.