The week before Maraton was the most powerful. Each night as a slept, I was greeted by a sacred coven beckoning me to play, cry, dance, sing, heal. Upon meeting Matt Mitler and the Dzieci tribe outside of their repertory performances of Makbet and Fool’s Mass my body and soul shook. I had stepped into their dream and them into mine. Matt sat with each person who came in simply being with her/him before collecting donations for the weekend. I knelt, gazed and embraced Matt and offered my donation. My body shook with a gentle tremor as I felt the largeness of the space and the intensity of the journey that was to follow.
For years I’ve been disenchanted with theatre having acted professionally. I found my experience of the world of professional theatre deeply dehumanizing. If someone tells me they’re an actor of course I’m excited for them, but there’s also a place in my soul that stings with the pain I know caused by a life devoted to the craft in a professional context.
I remember the audition that turned me, I was waiting at one cattle call for a New York audition for Lysistrata. There were 200 women there to read ~ beautiful women, resumes in hand, immaculately dressed to sell themselves. We were waiting in line like horses being inspected to be purchased, having our teeth checked, inspecting our hooves, go for a trot around the room. I remember waiting, looking up and down the hall when something shifted in me. There was nothing sacred here. My soul made a decision that day to leave theatre. I threw out my headshots and buried my resume in the deep dark files of my computer. I went on a quest to discover my own voice and what it had to say. I wrote and performed poetry, I created a One- Woman Show with the support of Carlo Altomare & Orietta Crispin at the Theatre Lab. I co-created a and traveled with a spoken word play with New Street Poets. I created performance pieces around my relationship to orgasmic energy in the elements, but there was still a piece of my soul that felt like it was missing. That I had surrendered the day I trashed my headshots.
Years later and well on my spiritual path, I met and facilitated a few healing sessions for a fellow shaman. She mentioned she had participated in Dzieci’s Para-Theatrical Workshop Maraton and that it had changed her life. I felt a deep soul resonance with this woman and took her recommendation and filed it back in my mental rolodex to pull out again when I was ready to meet them. A few years later, I received an email from Ripley Grier Studios, having rented space from them for a naked yoga class a few years back. They mentioned they were hosting Dzieci’s Makbet. The card I had filed back in my brain flipped open and I decided to go check out the ritual performance. Witnessing Dzieci’s Makbet and the ecstatic and organic and deeply ceremonialized process of the play unlocked places in me that I had been longing to find in the theatre but didn’t know how to create. Dzieci had found the sacred and were weaving it into everything they did. As an audience member, when you see their work, you are not simply a witness. You are on the journey with them, invited into the tribe and embraced as community. After this production, I signed up for their newsletter and went on their website several times just to keep up with what they were offering. When I saw their repertory production of Fool’s Mass and was greeted with an equally profound response, I signed up for Maraton.
Maraton is a 24-hour journey into the very depths of your soul. My relationship with the theatre had been very fractured and wounded. I went in with the simple intention – to heal and realign myself with my highest purpose in relationship to theatre and performance. Maraton beings at 7am on a Saturday and ends at 7am on a Sunday. During that time, you are taken through a journey, sometimes silent, mostly non-verbal, into the very depths of your being. There’s no hiding. You meet yourself including the parts you don’t want to meet over and over, again and again. The company members and participants of Maraton create a matrix of energy. Each person in the room is a piece, a wisdom holder, part of the universal constellation. Who’s in the room is meant to be in the room. There’s a piece and place for everyone. After we sign in, we are silent. In silence, the deep impulse of movement, connection and creation unfolds. The process works with perhaps a loose form and is mostly created through transmission. There may be a plan and the plan may also instantly transform. During a particularly powerful physical exercise one participant received a painful injury to his eye. The group transformed and simply was with the participant who was injured. We sang to him, held space for him. He was rocked and cradled and a deep container of intimacy and compassion were created among the other participants. We all healed in this moment. The journey for those 24 hours is pure soul transformation. I saw how many places I had hidden in myself. I felt every archetype in my system awaken including some I hated, and in those places of hate and rejection a tremendous place of love and acceptance was allowed to open. By no coincidence, Maraton took place in the Dark of the moon, a time mostly easily accessible to dance in the shadowland of the soul. I soared in my strong suits and fell flat on my face in my personal places of disempowerment and in both of these extreme spaces magic and healing unfolded within the full spectrum. Walking dazed into the rising sun the next morning, I went home and wept and laughed spontaneously for the next 24 hours when I was caught with the recollection of a gaze into someone eyes, a song of awakening, a dance through the body's very limits of exhaustion and a return into the portal we all come from and to which we all ultimately return.
Dear perspective participant - You have to be ready. You have to want this with your whole soul. You will want to quit. You will want to fall back asleep. But you will want more to awaken to the eternal magic of the universe and your highest potential that is present within this powerful matrix. You find Dzieci when you are ready to find them. May you hear the call when ‘dzieci’ is ready to awaken in you.
'Dzieci' is Polish for 'Children'