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Daniel MacIvor, Nikos Kazantzakis, and Sarah Ruhl- it began with the works of these three writers. From the plays Marion Bridge, Kouros and In The Next Room (The Vibrator Play), we used the monologues of the characters Agnes, Ariadne, and Mrs. Givings respectively as a catalyst for ideas. From here, we were able to develop visual collages and music selections in response to the ideas, responses, and themes that emerged from our initial analysis of each monologue. 

In the dream, I’m drowning. But I don’t know it at first. At first, I hear water and I imagine it’s going to be a lovely dream. Even though every time I dream the dream I’m drowning each and every time I dream the dream I forget. 

Fooled by the sound of the water I guess and I imagine it’s a dream of a wonderful night on the beach, or a cruise in the moonlight, or an August afternoon in a secret cove–but a moment after having been fooled into expecting bonfires or handsome captains or treasures in the weedy shore it becomes very clear that the water I’m hearing is the water that’s rushing around my ears and fighting its way into my mouth and pulling me back down into its dark, soggy oblivion. No captains, no treasures, no bonfires for me, no in my dream I’m drowning. 

And then, just when it seems it’s over–that I drown and that’s the dream–in the distance, on the beach, I see a child. A tall thin child, maybe nine or ten. And his sister, younger, five. Then behind them comes their mother spreading out a blanket on the sand. It’s a picnic. And beside the mother is the man. Tall. Strong. And broad shoulders good for sitting on if you’re five, or even ten. Good for leaning on if you’re tired, good for crying on if you’re sad. And he’s got his hands on his hips and he’s looking out at the water, and he sees something. Me. And he reaches out and touches his wife’s elbow who at that very moment sees something too and then the children as if they’re still connected to their mother’s eyes, think they might see the same thing. 

And with all my strength–if you can call strength that strange, desperate, exhausted panic–I wave. My right arm. High. So they’ll be sure to see. And they do. They see me. And then all of them, standing in a perfect line, they all wave back. The little girl, her brother, their mother, and the man. They smile and wave. 

Then the mother returns to her blanket and the basket of food she has there, the man sits, stretching out his legs, propping himself up on one arm, and the little boy runs off in search of starfish or crab shells, and the little girl smiles and waves, smiles and waves and smiles and waves. And then I drown. And that’s so disturbing because you know what they say when you die in your dream. Strange. But stranger still I guess is that I’m still here. 

AGNES from Marion Bridge

by Daniel MacIvor

You have nothing to give me
because you want everything for yourself!
Don’t toss your head, don’t deny it.
There, behind your mind I sit, in the chaos, and wait.

And if I make the slightest movement, I will dash
everything you built into a heap.
Don’t bite your lip.
Do not grasp the black-handled knife you have cleverly hidden in
your belt. I am not afraid of it.

My arrow has found its mark in your heart and you groan with
pain! The longing to take me rises, from your feet to your knees,
to your thighs, your hips, your chest and you yearn to undress me
quickly, hurriedly, as one peels a ripe fig when he is hungry and

You blue-eyed barbarian, are hungry and thirsty because you
have not yet touched a woman.

I do not know how women surrender to men.
Do they sing like the birds, or leap upon them and eat them like
the black widow spider?
I boasted that I knew everything; alas, I know nothing.

How do women surrender?

ARIADNE from Kouros

by Nikos Kazantzakis

Do you want more children, Elizabeth?
That is a tactless question, you don’t need to answer, forgive me,
sometimes I say whatever is in my head.
I want more children and my husband desperately wants more children
but I am afraid of another birth, aren’t you?
When I had birth I remember so clearly, the moment her head was
coming out of my body, I thought: why would any rational creature do
this twice, knowing what I know now? And then she came out and
clambered right on to my breast and tried to eat me, she was so
hungry, so hungry it terrified me - her hunger.
And I thought: is that the first emotion? Hunger? And not hunger for
food but wanting to eat other people? Specifically one’s mother? And
then I thought - isn’t it strange, isn’t it strange about Jesus? That is to
say, about Jesus being a man?
For it is women who are eaten - who turn their bodies into food - I gave
up my blood - there was so much blood - and I gave up my body - but
I couldn’t feed her, could not turn my body into food, and she was so
hungry. I suppose that makes me an inferior kind of woman and a very
inferior kind of Jesus.


from In the Next Room (A Vibrator Play)

by Sarah Ruhl

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