I apologise in advance for the notable lack of images for this review… hopefully, once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why.
In ancient Greece, every year, the cult of Demeter and Persephone would hold what were commonly believed to be the most famous of the secret religious rites. The Eleusinian Mysteries were a ritual story telling during which initiates experienced Persephone’s abduction to the underworld by Hades and her eventual reunion with her mother Demeter. Initiates were sworn to secrecy as to the exact nature of these mysteries, and by and large that oath was honoured. We still know very little about what they actually experienced in the dark up on the mountain.
Until last night, I had always assumed that this long kept secret, this oath honoured by literally multiple thousands of people who had this experience and not one of them ever wrote it down, or talked to anyone who did. Now I have a slightly different theory. They kept the secret because they didn’t want to spoil it for you…
Seriously. My ultimate goal for this review is to tell you as little as is humanly possible about ‘The Rite of Spring’, while simultaneously demanding that you go and have the experience for yourself. The list of things I can actually say therefore is moderately short, but we’ll see how we go.
This ‘Rite of Spring‘ is an original work of dance and movement, based on Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring‘, a classical piece of music written in 1913, and is a part of the Salamanca Moves Festival running until the end of September. It begins in the Peacock Theatre, nestled inside the Salamanca Arts Centre, but you need to be aware… it wont end there. You’ll need a certain amount of physicality to make the journey, there’s some walking and quite a bit of standing, but I promise, it’s going to be worth it.
“Through dance, physical theatre and immersive design, we journey deep into the promise of spring. Interiors are revealed; the wishful linings of pockets, secrets stained on petticoats, histories and landscapes tattooed on the hearts. Our hopes, expectations, and choices. Our rights and dreams.”
The experience (I refuse to say performance, a performance is something you sit there and watch, this isn’t that) is at times whimsical, sad, heavy and beautifully light. The costumes are simple, but ingenious. Sometimes airy and light, others closed and refined, and once or twice just a little bit naughty. It’s going to demand things from you, sometimes subtly, but other times a sprite will quite literally stare at you until you comply. I can’t recommend it highly enough, but I do advise one thing… don’t go to watch. Don’t go to observe from the outside. Don’t go to be expositioned or passively entertained.
Instead, go to be immersed in a timeless narrative. Go to be an active participant in an ageless ritual. Go to giggle and gasp, to smile and choke back tears. Just wear comfy shoes, bring something to go around your shoulders, and follow the fairy. Don’t worry, she knows the way.