OCTOBER 31, 2003
DESIGNED BY ALEX KAHN AND SOPHIA MICHAHELLES
Oh we're all dodging --
- Traditional American Folk song
The doorbell rings. Before you can even open your door, a diminutive ghost erupts with the salutation, "Trick or Treat!" Every child knows that this exclamation begins a transaction that will end in candy. But behind these three simple words, and the Hallowed ritual of tribute they initiate, lurks an ancient, mythic figure who crosses cultures as readily as he does doorways, one who knows the best route to candy is a good disguise. Threshold-crosser, Candy Thief, and Shape-shifter - that's no ghost at your door. It is the Trickster himself!
This year the Parade celebrated 30 years of crossing borders and paid tribute - as one must - to the Trickster. The Village Halloween Parade has always occurred at the crossroads, as a meeting ground for New York's myriad ethnic traditions. Journey through many of the cultures represented in the Parade, and you will surely meet the Trickster. In Africa, he calls himself Ananse the Spider; in China, he appears as mischievous Monkey, while in Medieval Europe he assumes the courtly guise of Renard the Fox. In the Americas, he greets you among the Haida Indians of the Pacific Northwest as Raven and among the Navajo as Coyote. And in the African-American slave narratives of the South he came to us as Brer' Rabbit.
Superior Concept Monsters gave life to each of these Tricksters on Halloween Night, in the form of six new giant puppets. Constructed and rehearsed in community workshops at SCM and the Omega Institute between August to October, the puppets were designed to be fast, loose, and wild. As West Africa's Ananse the Spider spun an endless ribbon of stories from his abdomen, Raven dangled the freshly-stolen Moon from his beak. Brer Rabbit cavorted gingerlywith demur Renard the Fox and wily Coyote, while Monkey generally raised havoc on Sixth Avenue, as he once had done in the peach groves of Heaven. All told, more than 50 volunteers took part in the performance, leaving half-finished stories and half-begun dreams in their wake.
Christopher Fox, Steffen Hyder, Odenke Adomako-Menu, Meg Aldrich, Tesha Zaloga, Bess Willimson, Kevin "The Iceman" Taylor, Jay Miller, Ania Aldrich
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