The work I am proposing is an educational production of an ancient Sumerian myth, predating the Greek mythos. This is the story of Goddess Inanna whose most famous myth concerns her descent to the underworld. Inanna’s descent has been influential and transformative throughout multiple cultures. I have always been inspired by this famous myth of Inanna's descent, because it exemplifies the eternal cycle and mysteries of nature's death and rebirth. It is about the meeting of the dark shadowy side of oneself and the journey we go through to become whole, and about the rhythms of the changing seasons. This story, rich in symbolisms is important to me. It interests me particularly because it is connected to my roots on the islands of Malta and Gozo. The ruins of Inanna’s main temples are there. The story of Inanna was found inscribed on clay tablets and fragments in these temples.
The creation and development of this production of Inanna for many years has been the collaboration of volunteers, dancers, musicians, artists, writers and technicians. We have been developing this project since 2010 and have work-shopped this presentation three times. I am so grateful for the unconditional support of this creation and art collaboration of what is one of the most ancient of all histories on the planet. We are ready for the next stage of the development of this production. We have come to almost a standstill with finances and are not able to move forward in any meaningful way without further financial support. The support from gofundme will help us pay for professional rehearsals and studio time. Meanwhile I also have grant applications with the Canada Council of the Arts and Ontario Arts Council to help support the continuation of this project.
The presentation of Inanna - Dance of the Rising Goddess is a 90-minute, 2 act, 14 scene multi-media dance-musical. It takes the audience on a journey to the ancient world of Mesopotamia where humankind created the earliest writings, music and culture. The entire production will feature contemporary and classical dance, circus, instrumental and vocal music, narration and video projections.
The costume elements created for Inanna are symbolic of women's empowerment and/or oppression. The colour choices are that of the rainbow representing the seven chakra system symbolic of Inanna's descent and ascent from the underworld. Other design choices are representative of historical accuracy, cultural traditions and stories of Goddess worship. In keeping with antiquity, the music for Inanna's performance is an original score created with ancient sounds while offering the audience elements of the modern song. These musical pieces substitute several band instruments with their historical counterparts such as substituting citterns and balalaikas for guitars. Research on historical imagery will be conducted to create more accurate and enriched storytelling which will contribute to the final multimedia. The video imagery allows for the creation of dynamic set design and an obstruction free stage for the performers. The original Mesopotamian story, dating back to 5500 B.C, of Inanna's descent contains 415 lines. By comparison the Babylonian Ishtar’s descent is told in 145 lines. It has been suggested that the difference was due to the influence of patriarchy, which diminished the power and importance of this goddess.
Our primary market is women and men, in the age group of 18-35, who are interested in ancient mythos, musical production and female empowerment. We believe our show will help these audience members learn a wider history while promoting and supporting women’s rights activism. I want to inspire the masses to learn a wider history and to help educate people on how the role of women has been essential since the dawn of mythos. We hope that our show will have the audience leave feeling more aware of female roles in ancient history and inspired to generate more opportunities for oppressed women. I will be offering classes and workshops focused on belly dance, self-awareness and sense of belonging to help bring female empowerment to impoverished women. This is now more than ever a concern close to my heart with the spike in domestic violence around the world due to COVID-19. Reconnecting women with their bodies through the expression of dance can be a life changing experience. Through this experience we can begin to give her the tools to rediscover her creativity and passion for life. Belly dance has been called the worlds "oldest dance " with theories linking the ancient dances in Mesopotamian to fertility dances. This represents a time when societies, run by women, were loving, nurturing and peaceful. Inanna's descent and rise represents a re-emergence and a celebration of the divine feminine exemplifying female empowerment through the ages and the agency of female dance forms.
Our secondary market is women and men 30 - 50 years old. This market has a higher income bracket and is more likely to have the discretionary income to invest in a theater production. This audience also carries a deep understanding of gender roles and would benefit from the show through its educative nature and entertaining aspect. My vision is to demonstrate the marriage of this ancient tale with the contemporary and classical art forms and present this project at the Redwood Theatre 1300 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON Canada https://www.theredwoodtheatre.com. We have been invited to present this old tale on November 18th, 19th and 20th, 2021 and stream live to the world as a “pay what you can” with 100% of the proceeds to go to the preservation of the Neolithic Temples Ggantija on the island of Gozo and Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra on the island of Malta.
- Laurence Caruana
- Nooreen Jafer
- Shelley Wilde
- Maria Karam
Joanne Lordess Camilleri