Openings of the Closed: IN THE BELLY OF THE MOTHER at Plenty Collective
This article is the fourth entry in a series that celebrates some of Boston's closed or postponed performances. Read more about this series here.
Artistic director of the Plenty Collective, Jane Reagan, describes the opening moments of their canceled performance.
Audience members with beers in hand sit down at brewery benches looking toward a set of 8ft tall poles suspending wine-red sheets. A white curtain nestles between them, with black painted text reading In The Belly Of The Mother. A brass band plays a set, against large metal brewing tubs, dressed in monochrome red. We bang out the last bars of "Old Town Road," the crowd cheers, and I grab my rat mask. Sliding it over my face, I can see crescent moons of the crowd past my pointy nose. Through new eyes I see our leading player, Brigid, crumpled over their limbs on the floor. I hunker down nearby, and with the first glissando up to the first chord of the show, Brigid stirs. As I play their theme on clarinet, I am less snake charmer and more alarm clock as Brigid stretches their limbs. They pick puppet scab after puppet scab off their tattooed body. All at once, a parade of masked puppeteers march in singing "Down By The Riverside," and our curtain opens, revealing the Cantastoria, a series of bedsheets-turned-canvases comprised of painted words and images. The entire brass band plays: a Fox with a baritone sax, a Tiger with a marching snare, a Donkey with a melodica march past the audience toward the stage with coffin in tow. They circle Brigid in celebration, while the cantastoria offers...
The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Brigid,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.