The new sacred-theatre creation of Romana Ercegović
»Persephone, a Story of Self-Love«
This poetic story speaks about the beauty of life, which is found within us. The story takes us through a deep transformation towards a new understanding of Love. It’s the story of a woman who releases her belief that her happiness depends on a happy relationship. The loss of her beloved makes her embark on a journey to “the underworld”, into her own darkness, where she, after meeting the Goddess Hecate, the keeper of truth, and her own Dragon, finally arrives at the temple of her Inner Divinity, taken care by the Goddess of the Soul, Persephone. She realizes that this is the treasure she has been truly, yet unconsciously, longing for.
Romana Ercegović’s fifth solo ritual theatre creation offers a new perspective of the mythology of the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece. It is based on profound research on the original, matriarchal understanding of the myth of the journey into the underworld, where the goddesses Persephone, Demeter and Hecate still represent the pure qualities of the female archetypal reality. The author transforms the echoes of history into a new story of the journey into herself, through the intimate, authentic experience of a contemporary woman.
The performance Persephone enlivens the map of a mystical journey into the depths of a woman’s soul, where also men are invited.
Production of Sacred Theatre The Soul of the Earth
Playwright, Director and Performer: Romana Ercegović
Costume Designer and Lighting Designer: Simona Čudovan
This in not a story about a woman.
This is a woman.
Who is longing for the beauty of life, the wisdom and the freedom.
Who is searching for her holiness,
for suppressed heart desire and passion of her body.
A woman, who is revealing her vulnerability and her power,
her light and her darkness,
her roots and her dreams.
And courage to live the life she is longing for.
This is not a love-story.
This is love.
Which embraces everything and everyone.
Her name is White Buffalo Woman.
And her name is also Dark Goddess.
Because birth and death compose the cycle of life.
Because light and darkness are parts of one great love,
which is everywhere,
in all things,
in all people,
and is all that is.
WHITE BUFFALO WOMAN
(inspired by the Native American legend of White Buffalo Woman)
Written, directed and performed by Romana Ercegovic
Premiere:16th of August 2003, in national park Sturmovci near Ptuj.
Premiere in English: 9th of July 2004, Concord, MA (USA)
A ritual theatre performance White Buffalo Woman was inspired by one of the most important Native American legends. According to the tradition, White Buffalo Woman came to the Lakota tribe and led the people to the path of beauty. She taught them how to live in harmony with nature, brought them sacred ceremonies (among them also Sarced Pipe Ceremony) and promised she would come again upon the difficult times for the humanity. Then she was to come to remind the people of all nations to the wisdom of the heart and to the responsibility we hold for creating harmony upon the Earth.
Romana Ercegovic in her scenario connects the ancient legend to the contemporary human being’s longing for sacredness. The story begins when a woman hears the legend of White Buffalo Woman. In her heart it awakens the buried desire to find her own sacred path: to the nature, to the ancient wisdom of her ancestors, to her inner light. She doesn’t know yet she will first have to meet the Dark Goddess, who is known in different mythologies of the world under different names, such as Kali in India, Black Madonna in Europe, Black Dakini in Tibet…. The goddess tells the woman that she “can’t find the light of her soul if she doesn’t have the courage to look into the darkness as well.” The woman agrees to go inside, to enter the unknown…
Some of impressions:
“This is a beautiful work. It is wonderful to see what you have been sharing with people – it is very powerful and special. On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for you and for what you have been offering through your ritual theatre performance.”
Brooke Medicine Eagle, Montana, November 2004
“I just finished the White Buffalo Woman description and script. Just stunning. I felt so much while reading both. I’m so deeply touched. I could feel my little girl inside, feel her pain and feel her light up as she heard the truth. Light up in the darkness so to speak. I saw so many images while I was reading as well. There’s such clarity in your script. It’s so clear, and bold and brave.”
Jennifer McKenna, New York
“The Lakota of the American West tell the legend of the White Buffalo Woman, who came to their people and taught them wisdom. Does White Buffalo Woman have anything to say to modern people of our time and space? From the perspective of a modern white woman, Romana Ercegovic, offers an interpretation of White Buffalo Woman’s lesson about living in harmony with nature. Romana’s story telling is a feast for intellect as well as the soul. She has performed this play and others in Slovenia and Russia.”
Morwen Two Feathers, The Concord Journal, ( in July 2004, when the performance was presented in Concord, MA)
“Romana Ercegovic has gotten round a stereotype of theatre picture and pored into the mysteries of life, natural world, human being… Her artistic expression ladles out of spirituality of forgotten wisdom, reveals the truth of the roots deep in human soul.”
Mojca Vocko, Aura, April 2001
“White Buffalo Woman is a beautiful performance. It impressed me, touched me deeply. In Romana’s storytelling one can feel the pure love – for nature, for human being. All her performances have a deep message, they touch and open the heart. They are simple and pure. They encourage us to make our dreams a reality. The White Buffalo Woman is my favorite, I listened to it three times, but I love them all.”
Jurij Jelovsek, October 2003
“I’ve came to see your performance White Buffalo Woman for a second time and I loved it. It is always a healing touch for me, it touches me where I need it. I deepy thankful for what you are doing. I am so thankful there is someone in Slovenia, who in that way reminds us of the wisdom and beauty of a woman and of the Earth.”
Darinka Girandon, July 2004
“The ritual theatre of Romana Ercegovic is indeed ritual in its original meaning: it takes us far away from too numerous modern social and personal constructions to primary world of nature and human heart. We tremble in confrontation with ancient messages of honoring of all living beings and authentic love beyond any cultural stereotypes. Modern humans, caught into chaos of superficial media, miss that kind of messages.”
Andrej Detela, January 2008
“Sacred theatre performance of my dear friend Romana Ercegović brought back the pure sacredness of life. Mother Nature and White Buffalo Woman are grateful to You.”
Written, directed and performed by: Romana Ercegovic
Co-production of Ritual Theatre Research Studio and Theatre Ptuj
Premiere in Slovene language: October 15th 2001, Theatre Ptuj, Slovenia
Premiere in English: May 23rd 2002, Theatre Ptuj, Slovenia
The dramatization of the ancient Greek myth of Electra through the perspective of the famous ancient Greek story of revenge deals with the question of forgiving, loving and personal happiness in today’s patriarchal society.
Clytaimnestra, Electra’s mother, murders her husband Agamemnon upon his victorious return from Troy. The god Apollo orders her children, Electra and Orest, to avenge their father’s death, which means murdering their mother. Electra in our story doubts the veracity of the god’s order. She is angry and insulted, but still, could she believe a god, who demands a new crime in the name of the justice? She doesn’t blindly follow her anger, but instead decides to go to the sanctuary of the goddess Gaia, mother Earth, to listen to the true wisdom of her heart.
“Is there anybody innocent in this story?
Eye for eye, blood for blood, tooth for tooth.
What is the way to step out of that cursed circle?
Why justice, if it cuts the singing of birds?
Why justice, if it leaves behind new wounds, new corpses, new grief?
Hatred among humans in the name of love to our own people?
Isn’t that absurd?
What kind of world is it? Suffering, fear, desperate people, hungry children …
all that in the name of those generous elevated ideas that came directly from god?
Do you know, father, what is the real name for what you call a god?
Let me tell you:
an arrogant heartless mind, which doesn’t care for a human being,
for the beauty of earth, for the silence of sky.
That equitable “god” destroys dreams,
because he doesn’t love people, and doesn’t want us to think with our own minds.
That kind of “god” is honored in this world.
Intelligence without heart, this is an ability, which is worshiped today.
Authority and money – only that counts.
And in that kind of world you are speaking about love, Goddess?
Mary Magdalene performance brings a new perspective to story of Mary Magdalene, which has been mostly presented to us through religious interpretation. What is behind of her prostitute and repentant sinner character, stigmatization, which took away not only the dignity of Mary Magdalene as historical figure but also the sacredness of the feminine in mythology of Christian religion, and thus influenced the self-image and self-confidence to women born in this culture, distorted the purity of our sexuality, whether we identity with the religion or not.
The author of performance doesn’t give any new version of the story, but questions the given “truths” and uncovers the purity and dignity of a woman and every human being. She doesn’t do it with attacking, persuading or blaming anyone, just allows herself to feel how it feels when this vulnerable place inside is not respected, just allows the liberation of the truth to take place and takes responsibility for stepping out of a role of a victim.
The strength of the performance is in subtle, gentle, tender feminine quality. The attention of spectators is not so much attracted by interested activity on stage, but rather by intensity of slow, but fully present movement and fully meaningful spoken word.
I Had a Vision
I had a vision.
I entered a sacred temple shining in bright light.
I saw a woman.
She was dancing.
Who is she? I thought.
In reply I heard a voice:
Woman inside of you lives for love.
She gives away her grace and beauty.
She knows no other way.
She is gentle, loving, understanding.
And she is vulnerable.
Because she loves so much,
she is so vulnerable.
She can not defend herself.
It’s so easy to put her down,
to disrespect her, to disgrace her.
I will protect her. I will respect her. I will love her.
From the theater performance of Mary Magdalene, written in 2007 by Romana Ercegović
“When you can feel the peace of the early morning in your chest the horses neigh ready to take you home”
Prayer to the Earth is a story of an inner journey. Of returning home, to the source. A plain story of a woman who reveals herself in the sanctuary of nature. She allows herself to be vulnerable and surrenders to Love, to purify her of all that has prevented her to be truly happy. It is a poetry which opens, uncovers, liberates.”
Theatre-poetical performance PRAYER TO THE EARTH
Romana Ercegovic, Authoress of poetry and performeress
Bostjan Jurjevcic, Author and performer of music (leading chanting, didgeridoo, fujara, Native American flute, Native American drum, Balinese bell, rainmaker)
Premiere: 6th of June 2000 in the Theatre Ptuj
Premiere in English: 26th of May 2001, festival Rites of Spring, Massachusetts
Romana Ercegovic, wrote the poetry, translated it into English, stage directed it, performed it and took care of the organization of the performances and the CD
Bostjan Jurjevcic, author and performer of music (leading chanting, didgeridoo, fujara, Native American flute, Native American drum, Balinese bell, rainmaker)
Majda Fridl, choreography advising
Darko Ferlinc, graphic design
Mojca Vocko, language supervision
Marija Svetelsek, language supervision
Branka Mladenič-Blazin, directress of video
Stojan Kerbler, photographer (see Photo-gallery)
Miha Zabret, author of photographs on front and back pages of the CD Prayer to the Earth and in Photo-gallery
Sandra Pozun, photographer
Ivana Ercegovic helped with the organization
Sincere thanks to everybody who supported the realization of the performances.
General sponsor: TALUM d.d Kidricevo
Other sponsors: Lekarna TOPlek, Vargas d.o.o, Ami d.o.o, Vital d.o.o, Techcenter d.o.o, Izvir d.o.o, TeVe Ptuj d.o.o