Inside the Kaos Room at the Blue Room Theatre, five girls strode around a simmering cauldron under red lights as the audience took their places around the thrust stage. The room was small and intimate, holding around 50 people all turned inwards as the girls began to dance around the cauldron when the lights went down. Their moves were powerful, sensual and rhythmic, drawing the audience in with their intense eye contact.
ARADIA, presented by Milk Box Theatre, was a welcoming committee of five brazen witches there to convince you on how to topple the patriarchy. This girl gang took inspiration from the ancient goddess Aradia, known as the queen of witches and goddess of the moon. It is said that she was sent to Earth to support fellow witches in their fight for empowerment. American folklorist, Charles Godfrey Leland, wrote a book on the pagan witches of Tuscany called Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches which depicts Aradia as the mighty female messiah. It is said that she is the daughter of Diana and Lucifer, making her both good and evil, and thus, a figure not to be ignored.
ARADIA was separated into short chapters that cycled through in no particular order. There were songs, dances, spell casting and anecdotes—a broad range of performing art mediums. Sprinkled with a good measure of comedy as well, the witches used their divine feminine energy to break the chains of societal expectations and free themselves from the toxic men who’d held them back in life. It was certainly an empowering show to behold, I walked out with my head a little higher indeed.
There was a ritual for confidence consisting of three simple steps; spray, paint and potion. These can be translated into spraying perfume, painting your lips and sipping a little liquid courage ;). This gave the audience quite a chuckle.
The anecdotes of the abuse that these women had suffered at the hands of men and society were heartbreaking. To be able to stand up in front of a crowd and tell such stories would’ve taken an immense amount of courage and for that, I am proud of them. The fact that they’re now able to come to terms with those struggles and profess their truths displays how mightily powerful they truly are. That being unabashedly a woman is a courageous thing to do.
ARADIA took a jarring look at what women have had to go through for centuries to have their voices be heard. During one of the anecdotes, a woman said, “What do we have to go through to keep our bodies safe?”. This left a strong impact on the audience as it really did force you to take a step back and think about the numerous ways in which women already protect themselves, yet this doesn’t seem to be enough.
To combat this, it was reiterated a numerous amount of times that having a sisterhood, girl gang or coven, plays an essential role in banding together to overcome resistance. Nothing compares to the bonds between women and their inner circle; that relationship is one of a kind.
Although the show contained very serious undertones, it was well and truly a comedy too. Songs akin to sea shanties were sung and had the audience belly-laughing at their wicked lyrics. The sarcasm did not go astray either with the girls landing cheeky side comments here and there which added to the hilarity onstage. And who could forget the condom confetti?!
Aradia truly was standout piece of theatre. It was empowering, tear-jerking, hilarious and sobering, all rolled into one fantastic performance. The show catered for everyone as well, for women, allies and anyone who’s ever been shut down for simply being themselves. So, come and join the coven!