the fourteen stations of the cross 2003
my final exam production, Royal Conservatory, the Hague
Original Format music / video theater performance
The story of Via Crucis was written during a 3-week isolation period on the Greek island Kythera. Altough the story had been growing in my mind for a long time - some parts of it going back to 7 years earlier - I could not get any of it down on paper until the day I felt I had to leave my daily world, find a quiet place, and let it be born by itself. And so it happened.
All I had to do was to become very quiet inside, sit down, and write - the story was ready, just waiting for me. Therefore I don't consider it as being my story - it chose me
, and not the other way around.
Even then, the text is a complete reflection of my own personality, my life and my struggles. Being raised as a quite faithful christian, but not at all knowing which place to give to that faith in my today life, I still love the Bible and the beautiful stories it has carried inside for so many centuries. It is the only book that gives me tears in my eyes almost every time I read in it.
So it was clear from the start that it should be written as coming from the Bible. Basically the whole text is build up from Bible quotes (which I took from the King James translation), with some references to Bach's Matthew Passion and a few self-written parts that served to unify the whole thing.
There are 5 main characters.
• storyteller: a man, sitting at a table, reading the story aloud.
• god: an african singer / dancer. Tall, young and full of energy. Very cheerful and enthousiastic, in a quite contagious manner. Has a strong Calling, and huge plans, but is too clumsy and unexperienced to see the full consequences of his deeds, and is therefore unable to bring his dreams to a good end.
• lucifer: a very natural and attractive woman, who loves loving and being loved. Has a very strong opinion about things, and strong feelings connected to her opinions, but it never becomes very clear what exactly drives her.
• man: son of god and lucifer, a very pure and straightforward character. Totally uncomplicated, and not understanding what is wrong with the world in which he finds himself. His emotions are very primary and felt with great intensity - infinite happiness, deep sadness, and utter confusion.
• simon: the only person loyal to man, even though their paths meet only briefly. Spends most of his time out of the picture, but is aware of all that happens and suffers along with man.
Altough the names of the characters are very archetypically biblical, and their roles are too, their names are conciously written without capitals, to avoid calling them "God" or "Man" - they represent everyday people with all their imperfections and human flaws, which don't manage to reach any higher than they are themselves, even though they may aspire to, and even believe they are doing so.
So, although I use their names, there are no Gods or Angels in this story. There are only very human humans, embodying the biblical archetypes, who live and struggle in the beauty of their own imperfection.
Their roles are however not as clear as the names may indicate. There is a great mixture of stories from the entire bible which runs through their veins, and they all go through stages of embodying different biblical characters. God starts as the biblical God (Elohim, the ones who create heaven and earth), but soon appears to be Adam as well, and Joseph the carpenter, the father of Jesus. In the end of the story you realize that all this time he actually was the prodigal son, who returns home after a long time of arrogance, failed struggle, and suffering, only to find his father and mother have been waiting for him.
Lucifer starts as Eve, but immediately becomes the angel Lucifer - the carrier of the light, God's main angel who ends up rebelling against him, is cast down from heaven, and becomes what we know as Satan. This role is fulfilled through the entire story, but in the same character she also embodies parts of Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalena and the wife of Job.
Man is most simply a man, derived from Adam. But he slowly turns into a broken Job, then becomes Jesus on the cross, and ends as a virtuoso musician, playing Bach on the saw his father (the carpenter) used to make crosses.
On a structural level, the story uses the Via Crucis (the fourteen stations of the cross as they originated in the Roman Catholic tradition) as a reference. The story is divided into 14 stages, each one of them refering to one of the stations of the cross - sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically. The dramatic curve of the traditional stations is followed very closely, and serves as a strong and coherent structure.
> read the story