"I layed down by the river" is a collaborative performance produced by the Sun Day collective, written by Cecilia Vidal, costumes by myself and Cecilia, set design by the group, printing by Nina Muccia, and including a sound piece commissioned from Kiera Mulhern. The photos seen here are documentation of the first rendition on Palm Sunday, April 14 2019, by Ryan Congo and Parker Camp.

'In the New Testament, Mary Magdalene is depicted as a composite character of many female archetypes, a burden for any woman to carry. "I layed down by the river" depicts a young woman on the cusp of womanhood, confronting her vulnerability and facing her independent and unknown future. The play is inspired by the songs of early 20th century appalachain folk band the Carter Family, and contains some dialogue taken from The Golden Legend. The Golden Legend is a 14th century collection of speculative stories (fan fiction) of the life of the saints, including that of Mary Magdalene and her life after Jesus.'

hand printed riso gocco invitations

hand printed riso gocco scripts

'river' naturally dyed with blackberries

Pawned you a diamond ring,

I would pawn you this heart in my bosom .

 

You can kiss my rosey cheeks when you return.”

I layed down by the river, under the weepin willow tree;.

 

……………...


 

angel: (sits down and begins playing with her hair)

 

Mary magdalene: (wakes up) are you my angel?

 

Angel: how did you know?

 

M: i just knew (begins to tear up)

 

A: I knew you would

 

M: Share this with me, friend (takes out a loaf of bread, they begin to tear and eat)

 

if only (lamenting) this were of true substance (referring to the body of christ)

 

A: (reassuringly) it is, it is of substance. did you bake it?

 

M: I did.

 

A: then it is of substance.

 

M: what peaches! I was dreaming of aisles full of husbands! (sits up)

 

A: were you really?

 

M: no (giggles, both laugh, M’s eyes tear up, puts bread away.)

 

(A beckons and begins unbraiding M’s hair)

 

A: what were you really dreaming about?

 

M: Oh, listen to the train

Coming down the line

Trying to make up for all of her lost time

From Buffalo to Washington

 

(pause)

 

what does it mean?

 

A: don’t you see?

three years up the line, three days at the station, forty days up the line and now?

 

(pause)

 

Oh, listen to the train

Coming down the line

Trying to make up for all of her lost time

From Buffalo to Washington

 

(Begins to wash M’s hair)

 

M: (incredulous) Do you know my name?

 

A: yes.

 

M: what’s my name?

 

A: Mary Magdalene

 

M: profound and profane

 

A: Sacred and profane

 

M: tell me my future?

 

A: what do you want to know?

 

M: I wanna know what kinda girl I am. I wanna know what kind of woman I’ll be.

 

A: you just gotta wait and see.

 

M: No! I wanna know! Jealous hearted me wants to know.

 

A: my honey babe

 

M: mm (nope)

 

A: lay down. I’m gonna show you what kind of woman you are.

 

M: I am?

 

A: you are.

 

M: (lays down)

 

A: I’m gonna split you and half. And that you are.

 

M: who am i?

 

A: you are a composite of many women.

 

M: don’t remind me.

(stands up, lights a cigarette with the cigarette holder, becomes glamorous)

I am a lovely woman, I want to praise my body…

Because I left my cloak in the meadow, my mistress began to inquire where I had been. How droll this was, I thought to myself. What does she want from me? Shall I not have control over my body?

 

A: You’re a lovely woman. What you don’t repent today, You can repent in a year’s time

 

M: (holds angel’s hand) you’ve been a friend of mine. Give me roses while i live.

 

A: humour me

 

M: Okay i’m going to tell you a joke:

 

So the soul and desire were talking and desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?

 

The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me. And when it said this the soul started laughing.

 

And then ignorance came along. And ignorance questioned the soul, saying, Where are you going?  In wickedness are you bound.

 

And the soul said, Why do you judge me, although I have not judged? I was bound, though I have not bound. I was not recognized. But I have recognized that everything is being dissolved.

 

What binds me has been slain. and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.

 

From this time on, for the rest of time, of the season, of the aeon,  I will remain in silence.

 

A: do you know where you’re from?

 

M: (blows out smoke) from the seeeeaaaaa. The bitter seeeeeeaaaaa of galileeeeee.

 

(M leaves)

 

A: And so, Mary Magdalene desired meditation and went into the forest wilderness where she lived incognito for thirty years in a place prepared for her by the hands of angels. In this place there were neither fountains nor trees nor grass. Her hair grew so long, it covered her body and she had no use for clothes. From this time on, for the rest of time, of the season, of the aeon, She remained in silence. Yet, she will always be from the bitter sea of galilee.