Episode 1: The Blow
A young girl appears onstage as if shoved into existence, walking past a quartet of musicians on the stage setting of a medieval forest outside of Reims, France. She has been sent to collect hot coals for a fire that has gone out at home, and as she wanders through the beautiful spring morning her mind drifts and flows to other realms and realities far from home. The world shifts around her, catapulting her through time and space to 19th-century Vienna, 20th-century Germany, and 21st-century America. She collapses, hearing voices and visions. Her name is Vireo.
In a 19th-century Viennese doctors office, Vireo falls into seizure, collapsing onto the ground, shouting and twitching uncontrollably, reaching for imaginary figures that seem to haunt the edges of her vision. Her mother has brought her to Vienna for a psychological examination, and the Doctor has become intrigued with her case. He begins a course of study that will continue for years in an attempt to analyze the “hysteria” that propels Vireo’s fits.
Mother and Doctor watch as Vireo returns to her vision in the 16th-century woods and a “Voice” sings to hear about nature and life. Vireo struggles to understand the metaphysical existence of nature and life, and when the Voice leaves her, she once again falls into a fit.