Sacred theatre- an artists duty

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I like to talk in terms of archetypal alchemy, which is a process that all artists engage in on some level, as art is an alchemical process for self and culture. It is how we transform many things. Up in the hills in Gisborne, I spent a day recently, working on workshop stuff and my theatre piece, looking for props and being present to what wanted to emerge. Aspects that I thought were going to relate to the Beggar Woman have folded over into different characterisations. The face of my devising diary is a Beggar Woman face, under a potent sky near a shrine of iconographic art. I research and gather and write and draw in these books. This one is specifically performance art or movie play ideas. There are enough seeds in these  diaries to develop and give commentary on for a few years. I am fast finding it is a case of scale, of what I am capable of and of where I might need to start getting some help in the various aspects of production and not just for presenting the work  but reaching an audience.


My current Devising Workbook


Elders in the city in active dialogue about  the real important issues. Photographed with permission

Every time I put pen to paper more emerges. I found my substitute scrolls yesterday (see last photo). I go out again on Sunday hunting for props. I have enrolled in summer school for film making, not the whole course but a good chunk and look forward to ‘telling’ in  experimental avant theatre; stories that come to me to tell them, and also to be able to make documentaries  in the other arts areas that  I am active in. All around the world at the moment  important conversations are taking place and the voice of the people speaks in the undergrowth about what is really going on, all the stuff the mainstream won’t televise! Lots of juicy stuff.


Knox Community Arts Centre hosts the stage where ‘Grace and The Grail’ my recent work took place. The stage was lovely,  the nicest I have been on and hope to find more like it, but for the work I am creating now, I need a different sort of stage, one that allows the audience to engage directly with me and the installations and then find their seats again on cue. I don’t know where to find this place or whether I will have to create it? I do know that I will need technical assistance to pull this one off, I will need  a stage assistant as I will not be able to move what needs to be moved and I will need a place to change between scenes. I think this one needs lighting  to really add mystique but it is yet to be determined. If anyone out there knows of anywhere where the walls can be ready for installations either side with a staging area in between that people can traverse? Please advise me. I may also require another actor or narrator…….that is yet to be determined.

What do the Elders for the Earth have to do with Archetypal Alchemy? Ah that old thing called wisdom, it comes with age, it exists in the dusty pages of scrolls, and repositories world over in all cultures throughout time. The Elders were present at a time junction point at a place of social critique and protest in the city, recently. The good ole city square tree. It has  witnessed many words come into being under its branches. It seeks to guide the living in the ‘Way of life’.


A Stage awaiting the actors, a theatre awaiting a show. The world awaiting action, per chance it receives tragedy everyday. The World as the stage, the world as the subject, the world as  a supreme being calling to her children.


A scroll may say ‘No more can we let division be the measure of cultures other than our own. We can not afford to upset the balance further with inequalities, squabbles and petty notions of who determines what is right and fair, just and measurable. Do we have to quantify our very being in order to prove our system is the right Way? Are not all systems a System of Measure?’. The Official from the Imperial Court. Copyright Catherine Meeson 2015

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