Written and directed by Katy Tye : “Persephone: The Shadow Show” tells the story (without words) of Harvest Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, and how Hades (Lord of the underworld) abducts her and takes her with him to his lair beneath the earth. Hades courts her with gentility and makes her Queen of the Underworld but, understandably, she misses her mother with whom she shares a close bond.
While making flowers and other flora rise from the soil with her mother, Hades uses chicanery to grab Persephone and take her to his kingdom. This kingdom isn’t Hell in the way Westerners perceive it, but it’s guarded but Cerberus the ferocious, three-headed dog, and Charon the boatman who takes “visitors” downriver (to the nether realms) for coin as gratuity. Persephone is a goddess, too, just like her mother, her father being Zeus. Hades is deferential and impeccable as he woos Persephone, but again he uses deception to weave a spell that will prevent her departure. As Persephone begins to ache and pine for her beloved mother and Demeter demands her return, a compromise is reached. Persephone is in love with her new husband, but she misses mama too. They agree for six months she will dwell with Hades and cold, deadly Winter will prevail in the earth above. The other six months she will spend with Demeter, and vibrant, fluid Spring will thrive.
Needless to say, there are reverberations here, the need to nest and keep council with mother, but also the urge to attach with the shadow husband, whose dominion is fertility and also, trickery. A daughter is always a daughter and feels the compulsion to nurture and be nurtured. The mother has powerful love the man can never begin to grasp though his wife may spark his otherwise unknown tender feelings.
I do not not necessarily understand (in the world of modern dance) if the marvelously gifted Ms. Tye designed the choreography of Persephone, but I can tell you how deeply poignant and dazzling this show is in its simplicity. There is real soil and twinkling Christmas lights. The glory of Persephone and Demeter’s glee is palpable and light, like a butterfly brushing the heart. There is an immense curtain made of a rough, yet translucent cotton fabric (I think) and the shadows are playful yet evocative and vaguely sinister. There is a magnificent evincing of the supernatural here, cunning touches and ease of expression that function as intuitive semiotics, a confident, overwhelming preverbal dialect that reaches us with vibrance and awe. I am not entirely sure all the nuances of this touching story come through, but what Katy Tye has crafted here comes from an exotic, dreamlike place too often unavailable to us.
Prism Co presents : Persephone: The Shadow Show: Written and Directed by Katy Tye, October 31st- November 15th, 2015. The 500 Singleton Warehouse (Across the street from the Green Warehouse)
500 Singleton Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75212. Tickets 15$ General Admission, 10$ Student. (608) 957-7476.