|The stage is set|
As regular readers will know, I'm very much interested in ritual, ritual drama, integrating dance and music into ritual, and the like. This event promised to have all that in spades, and I was there primarily to study the logistics to see how I could apply it to Germanic themes. Fortunately my hosts were fully aware of, and fine with, my ulterior motive, and I have to say I had a wonderful time.
But the heart of the thing was the presentation of the sacral drama, which was a ritual unto itself, and the participation of the audience in said drama and ritual. And this is where the event shined.
|The cast assembles|
|The happy couple|
|The wedding of Ishtar and|
|Ereshkigal, goddess of|
On the whole, this was a very enriching experience for me on a practical level. I got a real chance to see how a big ritual drama like this plays out, what worked, what didn't, and was positively buzzing with ideas on how to apply what I'd learned in my own Germanic context, with an eye towards staging various Norse myths and the like in similar fashion. Some random thoughts, in no particular order:
- Cue cards. There were several times where the actors missed their cues or lines. Having someone in front of the stage with lines would have been a big help, I think.
- Audience participation. There was one point in the wedding ceremony where the audience was supposed to chime in with a rather lengthy response, but it never happened because none of us were sure that we should speak up, and we were never cued. Make sure the audience knows when it's supposed to speak.
- Live music. So wonderful, even if it's limited in the instruments. I think there was a bell that rang every time a god did something, and which also filled in the empty spaces. Nice touch.
- When there's a break between scenes (for instance, for dinner or to make time for classes), that's the time for large scenery changes.
- Integrating the feast into the ritual worked really well, because it was actually part of the wedding narrative. I could see doing the same sort of thing, either with a feast or a blót.
|The gates of Ur, at the entrance to |
PHOTO CREDITS (counting from the top of this post down):
1,2,7: Taken by your humble author, copyright (c) 2016, all rights reserved
3,4,5,6: Courtesy Hands of Change Coven, used with permission, copyright (c) 2016, all rights reserved