In this series of posts, we’ll be bringing you glimpses into the devising process for The Trojan Women Project. The thirteen performers involved often wrote poems, songs, dialogues, and movement pieces on the theme and ideas being explored in the rehearsal room. Sometimes they were created in the spur of the moment and other times director Rachel Hynes gave them prompts to go away and work on and then return with material. This piece was written by Nancy Linden who played Lolly to explore the idea of “women’s language.”
An Origin Story:
In the beginning was the First Woman. From the First Woman came spilling out the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, the stars, and all the creatures: horses, bumblebees, elephants, fish: all the things of the world. The First Woman, simply, exploded, turned herself inside out, and a whole world opened wide as a great churning river of water rocks leaves moons clouds little animals flowers galaxies music space and time poured out headlong pell mell random chaos in a blaze of light and darkness and filled nothingness with a universe.
It all started with the Big Bang. (Oh them gods.)
In the Language of Women
Words: love. Home. Circle. Child. Jonquil. River, brook, creek: grasses: Sweet William, violet. See, learn, understand. Convey, guide, teach. Be. Exist. Know. Warmth, love (I said that).
A circle around the fire: the warm side, the womb side. The side where the food is prepared and the songs are sung. Not the cold side at your back, out there in the wind where the wolves are: that’s the male side: although we know that side too, we live in that side too, under the moon of Artemis:
…in the silences of deep mountain night, in a forest of pines: not proper trees but something older, primordial, left behind at creation (“no, that’s not how a tree would be; let’s try again”); now alien creatures lurking tall and black in a brilliant sky so thick with stars it trembles like gelatin. A night of terrible beauty: ancient, comfortless, a night from another time, where Indians walk, homeless, rest-less, or sit by small cold fires (the sound of a wooden flute, or the icy starscape of Schoenberg). The deepest loneliness: Lonely for your own century. Lonely for day, for sunlight. Lonely for a place where you can sleep and be safe, where you can close your eyes and stop seeing this terrible raw beauty. (Every star is a distant world, cold and remote as death. A million stars will never warm this night.)
And there, deep among the pines, a little square of amber light: a kitchen window, maybe, or a single room with a dying fire, a reading lamp on a table with books, an overstuffed chair; warm smells of bread and lamp oil. Hot hiss of a Coleman lantern. Maybe a radio is playing: soft rhythms of an avuncular voice reciting the news, or the cascading notes of a piano, its tune broken by the crackle from a distant thunderstorm. In all the whole cold world of night only this little square of light representing humanity, comfort, peace: a little square of amber light standing between you and the Big Dark.