Act I, Scene 1 A Forest near the Castle of the Holy Grail at Monsalvat As the Prelude comes to an end, the curtain opens to reveal total darkness. As the lights gradually come up we see the stage dominated by a massive steel structure which defies any logical explanation as to its function, meaning, or symbolic value. The characters themselves do not seem to know its purpose either since throughout the act they seem to get lost in its labyrinth of twisted paths and dead-end walkways. This is the current state of the Brotherhood of the Grail after the spear has been stolen by Klingsor. Their world is in total disarray, and the once sacred and forbidden Brotherhood is now transparent and looking more like an extinct dinosaur. This production of Parsifal, with its fossil-like metallic structures, will examine how a society copes when a dreadful and cataclysmic event shatters its entire system of values and unique way of life.
Act I, Scene 2 The Great Hall of the Holy Grail Gurnemanz leads the young Parsifal to a mysterious and confused place. Upstage, there is a steel structure which seems to be the skeleton of what once was a temple. Stage right, we find a wall with an array of cryptic and forgotten inscriptions. Three massive heads face away from the wall. Are these three heads monuments to former forgotten Kings of the Knights of the Grail, or are they simply visual representations of the on--going decay of the Holy Order? The knights themselves huddle together trying to remember the reason why they have gathered. In the center, Amfortas, wheelchair-bound, is unable or unwilling to get up and perform his duties. No Communion occurs. At the end, Amfortas is wheeled away, seemingly asleep. The crowd disperses. Gurnemanz questions Parsifal about the event that he has witnessed. He has understood nothing of what has taken place. Gurnemanz tells Parsifal to leave, but suddenly he takes the young boy by the hand as if he wanted him to stay with the Knights. Parsifal frees himself from his grasp and flees the scene.
Act II Scenes 1 and 2 Klingsor's Magic Garden The two scenes of this act take place in the same setting. A monumental steel structure, rusty and dangerous, looms ominously in the background. Slabs of metal rise from the floor like phallic monoliths. Another section of the structure juts out like a naked breast. This is the realm of Klingsor, once a member of the Holy Grail Brotherhood, now a rogue magician whose slave, Kundry, seems to be under his spell. Klingsor instructs Kundry to seduce Parsifal so that he can destroy him. Lured by the voices of the unseen Flowermaidens, Parsifal and Kundry sing a love duet. When he kisses Kundry, Parsifal suddenly understands the nature of Amfortas' great temptation. Feeling that his prey will be lost, Klingsor appears brandishing a sharp piece of steel as a weapon. Parsifal manages to avoid the attack, disarm Klingsor and push him back into one of the steel beams which impales him. Kundry escapes in horror. Parsifal searches through Klingsor's pockets. He finds a mysterious looking object resembling a remote control device. He takes it with him and rapidly leaves.
Act III, Scene 1 A Hermit's Hut in the Grail's Domain Many years have passed and Gurnemanz is now older and living in an arid Apocalyptic wasteland. When the curtain rises we discover him hard at work trying to unearth a steel structure that seems to have been buried for centuries. Kundry rises out of the sand. She sings the only words that she has in this act ("Dienen, dienen") and begins burying herself in the sand once again. Parsifal makes a great long entrance from afar and walks towards Gurnemanz. He is no longer the young inexperienced boy that we had met in the previous act, but is now a wise and compassionate man. He picks up the shovel and begins helping Gurnemanz with the dig. The bells of Monsalvat are heard. Parsifal helps Kundry out of her grave, and all three begin the journey to Monsalvat as the curtain closes. Note: The interlude ("Good Friday Music") is played with the curtain down.
Act III, Scene 2 The Great Hall of the Grail When the curtain rises we realize that we have been here before, but the place looks very different now. The years have done away with whatever tradition there was still left. The temple and the three heads have disappeared. The wall still remains, but it is now darker than ever. Amfortas remains in his wheelchair looking very weak and sickly. Parsifal, Gurnemanz, and Kundry appear. Parsifal takes out the object that he obtained from Klingsor and points it at the wall. Suddenly the structure comes alive with warm lights and a "life-force" that flows from it. The clouds begin to part and, for the first time, we see a hint of sun in the horizon. Redemption has come to Monsalvat through the acceptance of a New Order, and the rejection of the old. Amfortas dies in his wheelchair. Parsifal and Kundry join hands and kiss passionately. Through the holy union of a god (Parsifal) and goddess (Kundry) the Holy Brotherhood (Sisterhood?) will endure.