“…Myths, so to say, are public dreams; dreams are private myths.” – J.Campbell: “Myths To Live By”
WHAT IS “MIRACLES NOW” ABOUT?
MIRACLES NOW attempts to answer the questions:
WHAT IS OUR CONTEMPORARY MYTHOLOGY?
TO WHICH EXTENT ARE WE PART OF IT?
In order to answer these questions, we had to consider the following facts:
Each culture and everybody’s life has always been created and governed by a certain “MYTHOLOGY”. MYTHOLOGY is a living system of collective belief. It gives answers to essential questions such as what is the sense and purpose of living.
MYTHOLOGY applied in practice means rules and laws that make each culture function as a whole. It determines one’s lifestyle and it brings one into harmony:
– with oneself,
– with given time & nation,
– with the universe.
In other words: MYTHOLOGY has always created and influenced reality.
If we ask the questions: WHAT (WHO) CREATES OUR REALITY TODAY?
AND WHAT CONDUCTS OUR ATTENTION AND ASSISTS IN FORMING OUR OPINIONS?
– we’ll certainly have to come to the conclusion that MASS MEDIA (primarily the world of NEWS & ADVERTISEMENT) play a great role in our life.
It switches our attention on & off to different GLOBAL ISSUES, it brings in focus dramatic (mythic) stories of wars and peace. With a precision of a document it brings stories of disasters and grace into our lives. It points out the hazards for our health and wellbeing and how to avoid them. It appeals to our deepest feelings and need for security and belonging.
WITHIN THIS MYTHIC EXPERIENCE OF KNOWING WHAT IS GOOD FOR US AND WHAT IS
NOT – WE ARE SUPPOSED TO MAKE A CHOICE.
In other words, we can say that MEDIA REPRESENTS THE BOOK OF OUR CONTEMPORARY MYTHOLOGY, in short: THE BOOK OF OUR “PUBLIC DREAMS”.
MIRACLES NOW opens this book and takes its chapters as poetic material for performance.
WHY IS “MIRACLES NOW” BASED ON DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY?
WHAT DOES THE STORY OF CONTEMPORARY MYTHOLOGY HAVE IN COMMON WITH DANTE’S MASTERPIECE?
MIRACLES NOW takes over the FORM of Dante’s Divine Comedy for more reasons. In the first place, the Divine Comedy is one of the nicest metaphors for our JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE. Personal fears, obsessions and desires are worked out in a process of continuous learning – towards understanding one’s place in one’s own TIME & CULTURE.
The realm of the Divine Comedy is Christian mythology;
The realm of MIRACLES NOW is CONTEMPORARY MYTHOLOGY.
MIRACLES NOW is inhabited by personalities of our time, and it uses the language of contemporary SYMBOLS & IMAGES. Nevertheless, in a sense it deals with the same MYTHIC REALITY as the Divine Comedy, the tension between the extremes of Dark (Chaos) and Light (Order) suggesting the “CORRECT” CHOICE one has to make in order to reconcile the spheres of “PRIVATE” and “PUBLIC” DREAMS.
“…as a wheel in perfect balance turns,
l felt my will & my desire impelled
by the Love that moves the sun & the other stars. (Dante: “Divine Comedy”, Paradise, XXXIII)
WHAT IS PRECISELY “THE WORLD OF MODERN MYTHS” AS PRESENTED IN “MIRACLES NOW”?
In order to determine THE WORLD OF MODERN MYTHS, we tried to draw a parallel between traditional mythic stories and issues of our time which could represent MODERN MYTHS and serve as basic material for MIRACLES NOW:
|TRADITIONAL MYTHIC STORIES:
||PARALLEL IN OUR TIME:
|1. STORIES OF THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE WORLD;
Myths that give answers to the questions of “Creation” & “Destruction”
||GLOBAL ISSUES; For example:
Scientific myths, such as discoveries in genetics (DNA);
Environment problems, such as ozone holes, global warming, climate
Images of natural disasters, epidemics of terminal diseases; Wonders of medicine;
Nuclear disasters, chemical waste;
Documentaries of wars; Peace-agreements;
Societies falling apart and coming together;
New World Order;
Space travel; Hazards for life, such as smoking, junk food, etc;
|2. STORIES OF GODS & DEMONS,
who were personifications of different fields of life.
||FAMOUS PEOPLE IN FOCUS;
their activities in spheres of SCIENCE/ POUTICS/ART/ SPORTS/ ENTERTAINMENT/ ECONOMY;
Public figures who have shaped our time for better or worse;
Icons who feature in stories of achievements & scandals; grace & downfall.
|3. HERO – STORIES:
MYTHS of ORDINARY PEOPLE who became heroes; their actions often driven by their sense of justice;
also myths of “EVERYMAN” rewarded by Faith
||ANONYMOUS PEOPLE IN FOCUS:
From a neighbor who rescued a child from a fire – to a lucky winner in a game-show;
From images of victims of war and famine – to faces in street-demonstrations – and to people featured in commercials and reality-tv shows.
MYTHIC STORIES ALWAYS PRESUMED TO BE “TRUE” STORES.
Yet, those stories seem never to happen in one’s immediate surroundings. They always happen in a faraway world of MYTHIC REALITY. Therefore, THE MESSENGERS (“Shamans”) have always been there to transmit MYTHIC STORIES to people. In the modern world we find their parallel in MEDIA REPORTERS. Always “on the spot”, there is a sharp clever eye that scans the universe and feeds our need for mythic stories by magically switching on and off the world of dramatic happening.
Besides MESSENGERS-NEWSCASTERS, there are TALK-SHOW HOSTS- some with entry to “Olympus”, others with entry to our Heart and all our misfortunes and problems. Among others, there are still MESSENGERS OF FAITH, who announce the lucky winner in a lottery.
ADVERTISING is an important link in the chain of mythic communication today. With dizzying speed it catches the NEWS and translates it into a FORM (RITUAL) which is to be exercised in everyday life. Besides, and beyond the function to sell the products, advertising is becoming more and more the medium to get across the MYTHIC MESSAGES. Saying what is IN and what is NOT, and offering the RIGHT TO CHOOSE.
In one moment advertising might deal with our lifestyle or health; in another moment -with our culture, another culture, our Planet or with the whole human race. Weather it deals with personal or global issues, it always refers to “CARE” and suggests our choice and action in that direction.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF MIRACLES IN “MIRACLES NOW”?
The meaning of the term ‘MIRACLE’ is:
– A bridge between the known and the unknown;
– The magic moment when the impossible becomes possible.
Miracles are DIRECT MANIFESTATIONS OF MYTHS. They are proof that myths really exist.
In that sense, numerous “miraculous” scenes from MIRACLES NOW – (to mention here some of them):
– on his Journey of Return, MAN experiences giving birth to himself; (M.N., Inferno, IV)
– an old man miraculously transforms into a young athlete; (M.N., Purgatory, II)
– a young family has a chance – through their home video camera – to grasp the spheres of Heavens; (M.N., Paradise, I)
reflect basically the same idea: that MIRACLES can open the door to MYTHIC REALITY. In other words: by means of MIRACLES it is possible to grasp in a bright silvery flash the “other side” of reality, or to understand it in a new way.
WHAT IS THE STORY OF “MIRACLES NOW”? WHAT IS HAPPENING ON STAGE?
MIRACLES NOW is played within a surrealistic decor built on a podium 12m x 12m. Three main sets (and numerous other changes and stage-transformations) + “decor” of a night sky – represent a contemporary version of the INFERNO / PURGATORY / PARADISE. The story of JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE moves through three stages.
The action occurs on different planes at the same time, creating different levels of scenic reality:
1. LIVE Scenes that are actually happening ON STAGE;
2. GIANT VIDEO SCREENS – represent both present stage reality and comment on it by inserting flashbacks or future stage events. Through this play with time the character on stage is shown as caught between the 2 mirrors of the Past & Future – in a “mythic reality”.
The use of GIANT VIDEO PROJECTIONS has another reason as well: the presentation of characters in “god-like”, MYTHIC PROPORTIONS.
3. DIA-PROJECTIONS – showing bigger than life IMAGES FROM ACTUAL COMMERCIALS – suggesting here THE WORLD OF PERFECTION.
All these means serve as a dynamic VISUAL FRAME for the story of MIRACLES NOW.
PART I (INFERNO) is shown in a series of nightmarish dream-sequences, with special effects inspired by horror movies. It represents a fantastic journey into unexplained depths of Darkness. It is about coming to terms with the dark side of personality.
The action of PART II (PURGATORY) takes place in a room of HOTEL “MIRACLES”. On first sight it seems an ordinary hotel room. But soon one realizes that it is a magic room – A ROOM OF CHANCE, A ROOM OF MIRACLES. In the background a balcony-window on which appear larger-than-life-size slides-Images of contemporary commercials.
Within half an hour it becomes A GYM, AN OFFICE, A RESTAURANT, A SUPERMARKET, AN EXOTIC JUNGLE & AN EARTHLY PARADISE.
PART II is about “COLLECTIVE DREAMS”, about being on the move, being on the run through different fields of life, surrounded by larger-than-life-size messages about HEALTH/BEAUTY; SUCCESS/CAREER; FOOD/DRINK; ROMANCE/LOVE; TRAVEL/DISCOVERY; FAMILY/SECURITY.
PART III (PARADISE), metaphorically seen through a home video camera, is a “FINALE” with the appearance of FAMOUS PERSONALITIES (sculpted as “highly realistic” Madame Tussaud’s waxwork figures) from the public fields of SCIENCE, POLITICS, SPORTS, THE ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT and MEDIA.
WHAT KIND OF LANGUAGE DOES “MIRACLES NOW” USE IN ORDER TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS?
MIRACLES NOW uses VISUAL, NON-VERBAL LANGUAGE, based on Images and new Symbols created by mass-media, advertising and pop-art.
The language of MIRACLES NOW is made up of a variety of elements. Therefore it cannot be read exclusively through movement, or gesture, or only through music, or action happening on stage, but through the synthesis of these into a COMPLETE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE.
MIRACLES NOW WILL, BY MEANS OF MAGICAL SCENIC PICTURES IN COMBINATION WITH MEDIA SUCH AS VIDEO-PROJECTIONS AND IMAGES OF COMMERCIALS, BRING THE SPECTATOR INTO A SURREALISTIC DREAMY SPHERE, TRANSFORMING HIS KNOWN WORLD INTO A NEW REALITY – “MORE-REAL-THAN-THE-REAL-LIFE”.
IVA & PETAR MANDICK, THE AUTHORS & PRODUCERS OF “MIRACLES NOW”
MIRACLES NOW is a production of Nieuw Symbolistisch Theater, through which the authors & producers Iva & Petar Mandick are now manifesting their new form of visual theatre, following eight different productions in which they pursued a variety of artistic interests.
With MIRACLES NOW these multi-talented artists are introducing the results of their recent occupation with the topic of CONTEMPORARY MYTHS.
To achieve the illusions in MIRACLES NOW, they developed a unique FULL-BODY MASK-TECHNIQUE among other things, based on various special effects techniques from the movie-industry, applied here for the first time in a theatre production.
MIRACLES NOW is visual spectacle about our contemporary mythology (the world of news and advertisement) and about its influence on our lives.
MIRACLES NOW takes the form of Dante’s Divine Comedy – giving Hell / Purgatory / Paradise true contemporary meanings of the journey through life.
MIRACLES NOW speaks in a collective, non-verbal language, creating an alphabet of images and new symbols that originate in the language of TV, advertising and pop-art. In that sense as well the show is “popular” and suitable for an international audience.
MIRACLES NOW is a MULTIMEDIA PROJECT using combination of movement/dance, visual illusions, video, image projections, advertising, and – previously seen only on film and now for the first time on stage, precision FOAM LATEX FULL-BODY MASKS by which performers in MIRACLES NOW are transformed into a variety of characters, celebrities and bizarre creatures.
MIRACLES NOW is intended for a large audience (up to 2000).
MIRACLES NOW is created for OPEN-AIR; it can be staged at “special” places indoors as well, such as churches, halls, art galleries, etc. and performed throughout the season.
MIRACLES NOW can be played only when completely dark. The audience has to be seated (tribune or otherwise).
Around each show – an additional advertising campaign will be carried out – as a part of the presentation.
The authors of the article:
IVA KOSTOVIC – MANDICK & PETAR MANDICK