Saturday, April 21, 2012


RUA/WULF. A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood by Marium Khalid. (art by Hallelujah Truth)

Hallelujah PILGRIMS…have you seen the BIG BAD WOLF out of the corner of your eyes recently? Is it possible that he just rode by rapidly on a bicycle, or crept around the periphery of your yard, or peered in your window last night? What exists in YOUR SHADOWS?
BIG BAD WOLF. Is it possible you are being watched by something DARK and perhaps THREATENING?

Last night I JOURNEYED into a well-known story, one many of us had read to us when we were children—Little Red Riding Hood. But this adapted tale of Red Riding Hood, “RUA/WULF,” written and directed by Marium Khalid is NOT for children. Oh no! It addresses the STRUGGLE that EXISTS WITHIN and the resulting DARKNESS from the CONFUSION of a myriad of questions:

What desire should I follow?
What actions should I take to fulfill my desire?
What do I understand from the actions I took?
Are there multiple perspectives?
Are there options for other actions and understanding?
Is there a right way?
Who is right?

PILGRIMS is it possible that this CONFUSION expressed by both Rua (Red Riding Hood played by AC Smallwood) and Hemming (the Wolf played by Tim Batten) is JUST the GRIT of LIFE? The BRILLIANCE in the construction of this modern day fairy tale is that it allows us to travel in multiple directions (at one point the audience is divided into separate groups to witness the differing viewpoints of Rua and Hemming). Its characters ask multiple questions and finally leave us to conclude that our actions CANNOT BE REDUCED into the black and white simplicity of RIGHT AND WRONG.

How delightful it is that both characters, Rua and Hemming, are equally good and bad and the entire spectrum inbetween—just like all of us PILGRIMS. It is the additional presence of a BIGGER DARKER WOLF lurking around the edges of the performance that expresses an even deeper TRUTH about our humanity. This alarming phantom reminds us of the DARKNESS that inhabits our psyches, which produces an abundant steady flow of fear and uncertainty that we must learn to manage.
WHAT DO I WANT? Rua, a burgeoning adolescent, knows it is time to venture out into the DARKNESS of her NEEDS and DESIRES no matter how FRIGHTENING it is!

We are all called at certain times in our lives to confront the BIGGER DARKER WOLF’s eerie persistent presence in order to STRETCH ourselves. Each of us, if we are brave enough, wages war with the UNKNOWN and as we make our choices and take action, we DEFINE ourselves.

Oddly, the Rua/Wulf billet and promotional video has the quotation:

 “No man is a wolf until he is made into one.” 

I would challenge the grammar or meaning of that statement. Written in passive voice, it is assigning the blame of  “becoming” a wolf to SOMETHING OTHER THAN THE SELF, whether it be another individual, a negative experience, or the machinery of society at large.
WE BECOME WHAT WE MAKE OF OURSELVES. It is our responsibility to make choices, make mistakes, learn, and continue living, no matter what.

PILGRIMS, I would charge that we “become” what we make of ourselves. We have the responsibility to craft the one unique life that becomes our destiny. This performance, Rua/Wulf is precisely about that FULFILLMENT OF MEETING OUR DESTINY and all of its frightening spectors in the guise of dark woods, wolves (human and phantom), adolscence, a life unlived, and the messiness of enacting decisions….How splendid is this LIFE! How frightening too! It is the GRIT in the JOURNEY that makes the PEARL!

That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul Blog with me and share with me the grit that is making your pearl!

INTRODUCING MY NEW ART ASSISTANT--TAO! Help comes in all forms on the JOURNEY. Here my beloved feline inspects my painting of Rua and the Wulf!
While living in the burgeoning metropolis of Atlanta, Georgia, we PILGRIMS can disappear into another reality by going to THE GOAT FARM ART CENTER. The audience of Rua/Wulf traverse 12 acres of a Victorian era industrial complex to see the updated version of Little Red Riding Hood. To view good representative photos  of The Goat Farm, visit this blogThe performance begins at dusk, and with the extinguishing of the sun, the audience becomes participants or players in the DARKNESS.

Multiple artists collaborated to make the costumes and set designs for Rua/Wulf. So well-suited to the environment of The Goat Farm and and the Little Red Riding Hood story, these aspects of the production succeed in creating a unique experience that seems improbable to be repeated elsewhere with the same magic.

While moving from site to site of Rua/Wulf on The Goat Farm for three hours, I had the opportunity to meet Lauri Stallings, dancemaker, and mastermind behind a beloved Atlanta dance company called GloATL, whose home is located on the 12-acre complex of The Goat Farm. Apparently, the performance concept of GloATL is similar to that of Rua/Wulf in that the dance performers interact with the audience and creatively respond to the interactions. 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: I would like to thank Lesly Fredman and Jesse Merle Bathrick for being the forerunners in attending the performance of Rua/Wulf at The Goat Farm and alerting all of us members of the Artist Conference Network to attend! Special thanks go to my Judith Barber, who introduced me to The Goat Farm and its enchanting grounds and buildings before the performance and discussed this morality tale with me afterwards. The ideas you read above resulted from our lively reflection over a glass of wine at the cafe of The Goat Farm. 

1 comment:

  1. Great questions Hallelujah! The "wolf" for me is a catalyst, a pull or a push into the unknown. It is my decision whether to follow the wolf, thereby succumbing to fear, or, by facing my fears and jumping off the cliff, I subdue the wolf.