The Ascent was an Easter Sunday performance rite marking the completion of Persephone’s cyclical journey to, and return from the Underworld, as narrated in the Greek myth Persephone. This ritual theatre event, which acted as a resolution of our midwinter performance The Descent, took place in high spring, at a historical Ibizan finca set in the ancient, rural and flower-filled landscapes of Santa Agnès.
During the course of an afternoon, members of the public were invited to accompany and assist Persephone in releasing herself from the tight cords binding her to the Underworld, and to her possessive lover Hades. As the afternoon sun’s rays began to soften, the initiated queen Persephone ceremonially ascended from her dark lair into the daylight, where her heavy Underworld mask was removed, and she was crowned with wildflowers gathered by the public. Our Persephone, enacted by Ibiza-based pigment painter Elizabeth Rose Langford, then lead the audience along an ancient track, where their bare feet collectively stained her earth-laid canvases, recently hauled from the depths of a freshwater cistern. At our journey’s end, performers and audience witnessed Persephone paint her pomegranate and earth-stained canvases with the lurid hues of spring flowers. The cycle completed, our mythic maiden, artist and flesh-and-blood woman was reunited with Demeter – fertility goddess and universal mother of all living things – and our performance came to an end.