This show is part of St. Louis Fringe Fest, which is the local branch of an international theater festival.
Date: August 12-18.
We’ll be doing 2 or 3 performances during the week of the festival. Last year all performances were evening & weekend, so we’re assuming that will be the situation this year. We should know the performance dates sometime in May.
Compensation: We receive a portion of ticket sales, and share that with performers after paying expenses. However, it amounts to a token payment (last year it was $26 each — none of us are doing this to get rich LOL).
This show tells the story of Medusa from her childhood to her death.
Medusa’s story has been told for centuries through the male gaze, in which women are passive victims, and their relationships with one another are characterized by jealousy and competition for — you guessed it — the male gaze.
In our version, Medusa is the feisty hero of the story, which means she drives the plot forward through her own decision-making.
Also, her friendships with other women are empowering to her and vital to her story.
Although we’re telling a story it’s still primarily a bellydance show. Please don’t feel like you have to play-act the storyline in a literal way with your dance.
Between dance scenes, there will be narration and animation to lay out the finer points of the story for the audience. The dance segments will tell the story in broad strokes and convey the emotion of each stage of Medusa’s journey.
This storyboard video will give you a clear picture of the scenes, who is in them, and how it all fits together (THANK YOU, LISA!)
Project Trello board: This is where you’ll find details about characters, scenes, and other show elements. (If you’re an invited performer and can’t open the Trello board, send me your email address and I’ll add you).
The Trello board is a place to brainstorm with scene partners & directors and communicate about music and costuming, etc. Trello is our main tool for organizing and communicating information.
The first column is random notes. After that, each column represents one scene in the show. There are 10 scenes, plus possibly an overture to set the mood.
Each column has information about the music, set, characters, and storyline for that scene.
The show is modular, meaning each scene stands by itself as a dance number. That way, each troupe, duet, or soloist can be responsible for developing their own scenes independently and there’s less demand on your time or need for full-cast rehearsals.
I’m envisioning one full-show walkthrough (dances can still be in rough form) in May and a final rehearsal of the full show in July. We’ll also have a tech rehearsal during Fringe week in August, where you’ll have an opportunity to work with the lighting and sound director and get familiar with the stage.
We want each scene to feel completely different, so we want you to express your creativity in your scene! At the same time, we want a cohesive show, so we’ll need to communicate and work together to make sure everything is seamless and makes sense to the audience.
If you’re in a group scene
(Ceto, The Graeae, Medusa’s Siblings/Sea Monsters, Child Medusa, Priestesses, The Waves, High Priestess of the Sea & Pegasus)
You’ll find the music for your scene in Trello under your scene column, along with notes, so you can get familiar with it.
ll start with an in-studio brainstorming session on Feb 11 from 1-3pm at Utopia Studios, where I’ll communicate my vision and we’ll noodle through the music together. You’ll leave that session with a clear plan of what you can work on independently or in small groups and then we’ll get together again in April to finalize.
We’re trying to keep demands on your time to a minimum. Here’s what I’m thinking:
- May: Rough walk-through of the full show & costume photoshoot for promos
- July: Full rehearsal
- August: Tech rehearsal & performances.
Group Scene Participants (Ceto, The Graeae, Medusa’s Sisters, Sea Monsters, Child Medusa, Priestesses, High Priestess of the Sea & Pegasus)
- Feb : Group Scene Noodling
- April : Group Scene Finalization
- May: Rehearsal
- July: Rehearsal
This playlist is a work in progress, and the tracks that are stored locally on my drive won’t play here, but you can get an overview of the music.
Current version of the full story as it will be presented between scenes (still a work in progress)
In this retelling, let’s shift the gaze,
on Medusa’s life from her earliest days.
For Medusa’s tale shouldn’t be constricted,
To the role of victim, with her free will restricted.
What if she wasn’t an object, or a passive pawn,
But a flawed heroine who met her fate head-on.
[Dance: Snakes in Your Hair Solo (optional)]
Deep under the waves, with the blobfish and lobsters,
Dwells Ceto, the mother of watery monsters.
A primordial goddess of the sea,
And matriarch queen of a strange family
Her children are a wondrous horde,
Of immortals who prowl the ocean floor.
The Graeae, her triplets with visions profound,
Share a single eye that they pass around.
The other siblings are a gorgon pair
And they all lurk together in a swampy lair.
[Dance: Waves, Ceto, The Graeae, Siblings]
In this undersea realm where time holds no sway,
And immortals lurk night and day,
No one expected Ceto the goddess,
To birth a mortal girl — such oddness!
Her siblings viewed her as foolish and wild
Never before had they lived with a child.
Their ancient minds, so vast and old,
Struggled to grasp the stories she told,
Of make-believe and teddy bear hugs,
Of scraped knees and captured bugs.
Can you imagine their reactions
to Medusa’s childish passions?
[Dance: Child Medusa, Ceto, The Graeae, Siblings]
Medusa grew up so misunderstood.
She longed for connection and sisterhood.
As soon as she was old enough to roam,
She made the Temple of Athena her new home.
The priestesses welcomed her with a warm embrace.
Within those sacred walls she found her place.
[Dance: Teenage Medusa, Priestesses]
Stories of women, from olden days,
Portray us as rivals for the manly gaze.
We’re led to expect envy and strife,
But let me share a different view of life.
Women’s connections holds power untold,
Sisterhood lets our hearts unfold.
Medusa befriended with Athena, you see,
And their deep, rich friendship changed her destiny.
[Dance: Young Medusa & Athena Duet]
In a battle fueled by envy’s flame
Poseidon sought to tarnish Athena’s name.
Medusa, the favorite priestess of her shrine
Was a perfect target in his mind.
He shattered her innocence, and left her in pieces.
— For only a virgin can be a priestess.
Robbed of her friends, family, and home,
Medusa reeled, lost and alone,
With every tear that stained her face,
Medusa’s sorrow turned to hate.
[Dance: Trauma Medusa Solo]
She made a choice, in her rage,
To become a monster, fierce and strange.
No man would touch her ever again,
Or gaze upon her flawless skin.
To bring her plan to its monstrous end
She turned to Athena, her dearest friend.
[Dance: Transformation Medusa and Athena Duet]
No longer prey to the gaze of men,
Instead her stare could petrify them.
Medusa reveled in her bizarre might,
Unleashing her fury with full delight,
She was untouchable, fierce, and bold,
A force of nature beyond human control.
Medusa made a cave her bower
and there she embraced her newfound power.
[Dance: Monster Medusa Solo]
Oh, Medusa, the master of stone,
Wielded magic that chilled to the bone.
But in her solitude, she longed for the bliss,
Of connection, a kind word, a tender kiss,
And the fates had prepared another surprise,
Her sisters arrived, with their sooth-seeing eye.
They whispered a secret, dense with despair,
A life growing within, a baby she would bear.
And the child would be no ordinary thing,
But a magical horse with ethereal wings.
But to bring forth the infant, her life was demanded,
A choice she must make: So destiny commanded.
In shadows deep, Medusa weeps,
A sorrow that never ceases or sleeps.
[Dance: Pregnant Medusa Solo]
She seeks solace from a trusted friend,
Athena, to whom her prayers ascend.
She begs Athena, with trembling voice,
To grant her release and accept her choice,
To end her suffering, to offer respite,
And let her baby be born into the light.
Would Athena view her request with favor?
Could she kill to become a savior?
[Dance: Pregnant Medusa & Athena Duet]
Athena, in her mercy and devotion,
Heard Medusa’s plea, though it left her heart broken.
She armed the hero Perseus with a mirrored shield
That will let him fight while staying concealed
From Medusa’s petrifying gaze
and a sword that can end her monstrous days.
Perseus sets forth on his daunting quest,
To face Medusa, to put her to rest,
With courage and resolve, he enters her lair,
And she awaits the slaughter there.
[Dance: Dying Medusa & Perseus]
Medusa’s funeral is a somber scene,
Where grief and hope are intertwened.
Her family and friends, hearts heavy with sorrow,
Watch for the birth of a new tomorrow.
For out of tragedy will spring a wondrous life,
A miracle born from Medusa’s sacrifice.
[Dance: Funeral Scene – Ceto, The Waves, Athena, Priestesses, The Graeae, Siblings, Pegasus]