11th August The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl, 7.30pm
12th August Pontardawe Arts Centre, 7.30pm
Who is the giant? What are the stairs? Why has a crack appeared in it? These are some of the questions you might ask about the latest theatre production from Cosmic Egg Productions, which will be performed in south Wales on 11th and 12th August.
“The Giant in the Crack in the Stairs doesn’t have an actual, physical stairs!” says director, Tracy Evans. “The stairs is a psychic or metaphysical stairs.” On a micro level it represents each of our own psyches, and the crack comes to represent any instabilities we might have- the gaps, and holes that we can fall into, and sometimes struggle to emerge from. “In this sense the piece was very much inspired by a poem by one of the greatest living Irish poets, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, called An Poll sa Staighre/The Crack in the Stairs (translation by Paul Muldoon)”. It begins with:
Ta poll sa staighre/ There’s a crack in the flight of stairs
Istigh ionam./ At my very core
Ni feidir liom e a threascairt./ That I simply can’t get round or traverse.
On the macro level, the stairs represents the cosmic or universal order of things, and the belief-systems we hold onto. The crack then, appears when these theories and worldviews begin to collapse, and the giant is what can then come through. This might be many things, but in this production the giant is the sphinx, the repressed feminine.
Poet Kristian Evans, who has written the text, uses the Oedipal myth as a motif throughout. Oedipus had a riddle posed to him by the Sphinx
Goes on four legs in the morning
Two legs at noon
Three legs in the evening
And is weakest when it has most
“Man” Oedipus replied, and she laughed at him, and threw a plague on Thebes that would destroy it, and a curse on Oedipus that would eventually lead him to sleeping with his mother, killing his father, and send him blind.
In The Giant in the Crack in the Stairs, this riddle is posed again, and the same reply comes: “man”. The violent response of the sphinx shakes the world and her black blood wells in the Earth, and we “consume” it. Her daughters who spring up in the forests of the Amazon are cut down and we “consume” them too. For a moment, we feel that maybe we are repeating the same cycle, no lessons learned, nothing changed, still separated from her.
“But if we can find a way to let her in, to not cover her up or stick her in a crack in the stairs, to truly recognise her and see her in us, then maybe we would feel more whole, we would become more fully human” says Cosmic Egg director, “we would be our environment, our souls would be us, there would be no separation of mind and body, nature and human”.
Ultimately this production is about the search for a new way of seeing things beyond dualism that has told us things have to be “either/or”. The Giant in the Crack in the Stairs searches for a path that can hold the feminine and masculine orders together, that can unify all four elements by standing in a fifth element, beyond the wind, sand, sea and fire, a quintessence……
The Cosmic Egg ensemble is made up of a team of artists from Wales to Argentina, including actors and dancers, puppet-makers, musicians, poets, and is guided by director Tracy Evans, who received a small project Lottery grant from the Arts Council of Wales to bring this to life. The production, which contains a mythic narrative, is at times non-linear, with juxtaposed text and action to encourage the audience to stay alert, to make their own sense of meaning. There will be some promenade performance.
Tickets available from Box Office, £5. Age guidance 10+.
The Grand Pavilion 01656 815995
Pontardawe Arts Centre 01792 863722
For trailer visit: (I couldn't manage to upload onto this site!)
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