My Journey with Terra Mysterium started in August of last year, as Stage Manager for their production Finding Eleusis, that was part of the first ever Chicago Fringe Festival. During the rehearsal process I was introduced to Viewpoints, which was something I had never heard of prior to working with them. Being new to the whole Viewpoints process I felt kind of strange at first since I was not on the stage interacting with the actors but above them in the booth. However, once I started performing with the group, as part of the ensemble, the exercises made a lot more sense me. Viewpoints truly feels like such a smooth organic road to character development.
This summer I had the privilege to perform with the group at Earth Traditions Oasis, where we performed our three shows Finding Eleusis, Professor Marius Mandragore’s Salon Symposium: Regarding Spirits, Spells and Eldritch Craft, and Betwixt and Between. It was very interesting rehearsing with Viewpoints when rotating between three shows, because in the beginning I wasn’t sure which character a movement was for. Of course the further we got into rehearsals the distinctions became very clear, as my characters in each show would hold and carry themselves so completely different. Delores Dion from Mandragore was the proud student, rigid, by the book, strong and doting on her Professor. An ensemble member of Finding Eleusis making shape with the others, and as Baubo, a boisterous, bawdy, life-of-the-party Goddess of Mirth. And of course as one of the Fae in Betwixt and Between. While it was taxing to have three shows to do during this retreat I have never felt so alive.
One of the many things I love about being in Terra Mysterium is that I have learned so much about ritual theatre, magick, and living sustainably, from our Director Matthew Ellenwood, and Assistant Director Keith Green. Also, that it is an environment in which creativity flows and is encouraged. When revamping Betwixt and Between we were asked to pick a flower and then write a story, about something that flower might have witnessed, that had nothing to do with the main story. I sort of panicked: me write a story to be put in the show and performed for an audience! No way! All of my essays in college left something to be desired, you want people to pay to see something I wrote!
Calling in a stiff upper lip, I grabbed a pen and a notebook a started to write a story about a sunflower witnessing a family preparing for a neighborhood dinner party. Still uncertain of what I had created, I presented it to the group and to my surprise they liked it. I love that our work is truly a collaboration between all the members. The shows we perform have a little piece of all of us in them.
Now that I have been with Terra Mysterium for a little over a year, I have created, learned, traveled, and performed with the original members, and I really do feel lucky to have found and been accepted by them. This is a warm, caring, encouraging, spiritually and creatively uplifting group of wonderfully talented people, and I am glad to be a part of them. I can honestly say I have come home, I found my family.