REALITY RESEARCH CENTER / TUOMAS LAITINEN, JANI-PETTERI OLKKONEN, MARIA OIVA, WISA KNUUTTILA
A Mystery Play in Four Acts
Beauty as such exists; the world as we see it is a mere reflection on the wall of a cave. This contemplation is at the heart of “Plato’s Symposium,” a Socratic mystery play by Reality Research Center. The play is set for twelve participants and it reaches for an experience of absolute beauty.
The Symposium consists of four acts. Each participant takes on the role of the protagonist of her own performance. The acts are spread out over an eight-day period; while the first act is unique for each participant, the fourth and final one is common to all twelve. The performers assume roles of four gods of antiquity: Apollo, Dionysus, Aphrodite and Hermes.
[Act I: Logos] The starting point of the protagonist’s journey is an image. In the first act the protagonist picks one image out of twelve, which is then studied in a Socratic dialogue with three gods. Upon leaving, the protagonists are asked to bring with them two items for the next act: one chosen by themselves, one given to them by someone else.
[Act II: Mimesis] In the second act the protagonist communicates with three forces: her own inner self (psyche), the play (drama) and destiny (moira). With three objects, one of which is provided by the gods, she constructs an altar, which is then studied in an associative dialogue; for this, each protagonist is accompanied by one god. For the next act, the protagonists are instructed to come up with a ritual act that will make them beautiful.
[Act III: Anagnorisis] In the third act Apollo and Dionysus lead the protagonists on a light shamanic journey, during which they have a chance to play out the imagined ritual in their inner theater. After the inner journey is complete, the protagonists discuss it with the gods. Initial plans are laid out for the final act.
[Act IV: Symposium] The fourth act is a feast of gods. All twelve protagonists attend the Symposium, during which the imagined rituals are played out one by one in waking reality. The protagonists are initiated to the pantheon of gods. There is an abundance of food, drinks and other sensory delights.