The Cost of Believing

Statement of Intent
By Valerie Hird

To my mind, The Cost of Believing, Paul Brill’s haunting musical score of love and loss, is a lyrical fable that illuminates humanity’s need to discover solutions for our post-pandemic world. In Brill’s allegorical vision, a Traveler, an archetypal Quixote-like figure, embarks on a series of quests that unfold across surreal, majestic wonderlands, and among seductively attractive but flawed characters, the Traveler’s quests are his struggle to define a faith that burns beacon bright; he is one who loses everything, sacrifices all – including his life – to achieve a selfless faith.   

Brill’s libretto examines an internal journey that questions our human and environmental costs to society’s existential designs. As I listen to Brill’s recorded music, I ask, “What have we lost as we strive ever upward in both spirit and substance?” These timeless mediations are presented with awe by Brill, reminding us to question and examine the very essence of who we are and how we will choose to live with each other in this impossibly complex moment.

To mirror Brill’s hallucinatory landscapes and bring viewers deep within his Traveler’s quest for redemption, I will be crafting hand-drawn and painted images in a series of rich and visually complex sets to be digitally recreated and animated 3-dimensionally. The Cost of Believing’s vivid characters: the Lovers, the Oracle, the Sacrifice, and the Chorus, like classic fables share and blend human appearance with features and expressions of familiar animals. Only the Traveler – who identifies so completely with each individual that each temporarily takes on their physical aspects, and the Oracle/Judge/Prophet – whose visage is hidden by a veil – will be presented without animal avatars. In its final presentation, my film adaptation of The Cost of Believing will run approximately 50 minutes and will feature single-channel, hand-drawn digital hybrid animation and will be synthesized into moving film imagery. My paramount goal is to help transport the viewer into Brill’s visual panoramas as fully and seamlessly as possible and to leave our audience as haunted by this imagery as they might be by The Cost of Believing’s recorded music.