Haven't been to a show this original in a long time! The use of space, actors and story were truly refreshing and it managed to pull off that almost impossible task of being both serious and fun! I can't wait for Rogue Angel's next production. I'll be in the front row.
-Nicki Wilson, theater director
I enjoyed the whole event of it, from waiting in the parking lot to watching the actors run up the path with their piece of cloth, to walking through the village back to my car. And great, sumptuous language - a feast. It was also wonderfully well-carried by all those who shared in creating it – an inspiring spirit of collaboration and participation and carrying.
- David Anderson, artistic director of WTD Theatre, Hudson NY
IC was a remarkably original shared experience that magically transformed our everyday surroundings into theatre that awed and inspired.
The Berkshires is home to a lot of creative expression but this raw, homespun courageous endeavor took our breath away on a
-Denise Barack, director of programs at Kripalu
Pooja Ru brings a certain raw, ritualistic and magical perspective to her theatrical work. They are alchemical experiences in which the audience is transformed by the unexpected, the fantastical, the mythical and the sacred - all held within the crucible of her extraordinary creativity and imagination. She challenges her audiences to take a risk, to step into the unfamiliar and unexpected, and to intimately engage with the performance as an enlivening experience. I am captivated by the rich depths of her work.
-Amber Chand, visionary life coach, writer & perfomer
I wanted to thank you for a most wondrous experience saturday! I really enjoyed the play on every level, it has been in my thoughts, waking and dreaming, since. I thought the location was superb, and it was brilliant to have the audience shift perspectives, not only for the logistical neccesity but also i thought it was a great way to keep everyone fully engaged and wondering what happens next! the poetic monologues were captivating, everyone did a great job with their characters, and the subject matter, delicate as it was, delivered passionately and with humor and joy. Bravo!
-Tim M, carpenter & artist
GREAT BARRINGTON — It wasn’t your typical evening of theater in the Berkshires. The instructions on the play’s flier sounded almost like those of a 1990s-era outlaw rave: Assemble in a certain parking lot, where organizers will appear and lead you, on foot, to the undisclosed location of the festivities. On the third and final night of producer-director Pooja Ru Prema’s “Isis-Chernobyl,” about 100 theatergoers assembled in that Housatonic parking lot. Guides appeared and walked them over to a nearby warehouse, where each attendee signed a liability waiver before strolling through the first floor to the outdoor site of the play, beneath a railroad overpass.
Based on ancient Egyptian myths and a vision of the end of the world, the show was part theater, part dance, with an improvised cello accompaniment thrown in for good measure. “When people come to one of my things they don’t know what the hell they’re getting into,” admits Prema, 30, reflecting on the 2012 production. “It strikes a chord and it has a niche here, but at the same time it’s not the standard. People are expecting a much more comfortable experience than what I give them.” This ethos was reflected in the one amenity offered. At intermission, audience members were poured hot cups of “uncertain-tea.”
-from The Boston Globe, Jeremy Goodwin
Company Actors' Feedbacklick here to edit me
I was taken to another dimension last night...one of beauty, grief, aloneness, joy, life and death. Thank you for the journey. I am of Irish background and so much of the universality of your work made me remember Synge and women waiting for the return of family from the sea on the Aran Islands. Traveled to isolated seaside in Japan too. It opened my thoughts to past connections. So very powerful. Thank you from my heart.
-Gail Ryan, actor
Enchanted by the masks, how they were animated by the way you moved. Trickster, magician, crone. The gift of a seed...what kind of seed? Pouring water as a mythic act, with such presence, intention. Water, fresh and salt, the ocean itself... the fire, the door. The cloths and clothes. The whispering of secrets. There could have been even less spoken language (though I loved the words) - your body, gestures, masks all spoke so eloquently. I felt that I was admitted to another world.
- B. C., poet
The old woman: so filled with love of life she lights the fires, gives seeds of hope to all present, offers kisses, jests, compassion, love, a little lusty at times, teasing. She has lived her long life and held onto the magic of the experiences she has journeyed through. Is she the same woman as the youthful protagonist? The mask was delightful and your elderly moves artistic.
The ritual mask. To me the water, it echoes of the Itza of the Maya -- blood, sweat, tears, menses, semen, saliva all the bodily fluids -- sacrificing some as a bridge between mortals and the god (goddess).
The dreams: whispers are dealing with the sacrifice she has made to stay behind, keep a safe haven, light the fire. It is the fire within her that is the haven. Waiting, watching, hoping, despairing. Dreaming of her husband's struggle in the sea. You portrayed it as a vertical dance, so beautiful, so delicately encompassing. Solitude is not for everyone, but can bring an inner strength as we see in the third dream. With the experience of surrender embedded within she can let go.
-Patricia Parkins, landscape designer
Rites of Passage
"I never truly ackowledged the fact that I was female until about the 2nd room, and I realized its not so bad as I thought."
"Ru’s most recent production, last month, was a fanatically detailed performance/installation at an 1865 Pittsfield mansion, the longtime site of a women’s club. Audience members wandered through a celebration of the female stages of life, observing vignettes like a pair of young lovers teasingly exchanging each other’s clothing in a stairwell, and an elderly foursome playing cards."
-from The Boston Globe, Jeremy Goodwin
"Rites of Passage is the next dimension of the Vagina Monologues. Its an epic step for the history of woman kind."
Working with Pooja was a pure act of ArtLove; a journey both deeply Personal and generously Universal. Pooja gave my words and actions a context, a life of their own, a necessary reason to be in the world and the world will never be the same again.
Transformation. Sacred. Necessary. -Meg Agnew
Working with Rogue Angel allowed me to tap into cerebral and physical territory that I had long forgotten or had never known.
It was truly a thrilling and enlightening experience.
- Rob Allen
When you work with Pooja, you will not receive a script at the beginning and begin working scenes. Pooja devises her magical ensemble work in large part from the material her actors bring her in improvisations and personal writings. When I worked with her last year it felt like equal parts difficult, intimate theater work, the best therapy I could ask for, and a deepening of my own spiritual practice. Working with Pooja is kind of like the final verse of the Hokey Pokey: You put your whole self in and you shake it all about!
Collaborating with Pooja on Isis - Chernobyl was a powerful, challenging trip; a wildly satisfying adventure stream that I stepped into, an artistic cliff that I agreed to leap from at a time of political disaffection, worldwide anxiety and profound personal crisis. A group of us - strangers, really - hip- deep in our own private struggles and losses, agreed to meet in the warm light of Pooja's encouraging presence to piece together silken scraps of memory, poetry, bloodstains, mythology, movement, dreams, time, breath, love, power, fear, sex, grief, family, heartache and hope...to see if we could collectively take wing. We did!!!