San Francisco-Bay Area psychedelic enthusiasts are in for a real treat from the spirit vine this month. On May 23, The Marsh Theater in the Mission District will present “Wind in a Mirrorâ€¦Ayahuasca Visions” with writer/performer Josie Hyde. For one lucky NABCommunities.com member (sign up is free and easy, and promises to be spam-free!), Hyde’s offering aÂ FREE ticket to see the performance, which is appearing for one night only! Here, Hyde gives us an exclusive interview about the upcoming show, which promises a multimedia experience like no other. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page!
About 20 years ago I began a career in performance poetry. I wanted to create a one-woman show and was working on a long poem, â€śDeath by Men, Confessions of a Serial Loverâ€ť when I drank ayahuasca for the first time. Drinking ayahuasca changed everything. I found my true subject. I didnâ€™t abandon the style of my earlier poems but now I wanted to tell the deepest story of my life. So I set out for the first time to combine story and prose with poetry. A learning curve was involved. I never intended to take such a long hiatus from performance. It just worked out that way.
When I began â€śWind in a Mirrorâ€¦Ayahausca Visionsâ€ť it had a few poems in search of melodies, but singing was not something I was going to try. But then all the shamans I knew in the Amazon began asking me to sing during ayahuasca ceremonies. One night I risked singing one of my own poems and the poem found a melody. So add on a few years for the songs in the play.
From the beginning I wanted the play to have a visual element. Once I had performed my poetry to slides of collages I had made and I wanted to do something like that again. As I got into making multimedia collages, my standards rose. I just got better and as I got better what I had already done got worse. So add on some years for the art progression. It all adds up to a hell of a lot longer than I would have allowed if Iâ€™d been in charge.
2. How did you first learn of Ayahuasca?
I spent quite a lot of time in the 60s in the little Mazetecan town of Huautla de Jimenez, Mexico where the magic mushrooms grow. One day in Huautla, a traveler told me about a magic vine in the Amazon that could show you death and in showing you death, show you who you really are. I had to find this vine. It took me about thirty years to catch up with that wish.
3. Why did you feel it was important to tell the story of â€śWind in the Mirrorâ€¦ Ayahuasca Visionsâ€ť by Josie?
Well, Iâ€™m a writer. And this is my story. I donâ€™t think that an artist really can choose the kind of artist she is. And in a way the story chooses you. I mean art, whatever the form, comes from within. I like the idea that creativity is a tryst with the unconscious. I didnâ€™t really choose to write this play so much as I had to write it.
General knowledge of ayahuasca is much greater today than when I began writing the play. But I never set out to spread the word about ayahuasca per se; my motivation was a different sort of thing, more a need to speak the truth.
4. Your performance promises a multimedia experience. Did you work with anyone to create this, and how long did it take for you to develop the story, sounds, and visuals for this particular event?
Time taken, I covered somewhat. But Iâ€™m glad youâ€™ve asked about collaborators because I have been blessed with the best. Percussionist and composer Tom Lackner is responsible for the soundtrack. Tom combined original compositions with the traditional music of shamans Jose Campos and Agustin Rivas Vasquez. As well as being a composer and music producer, Tom is the drummer in Jeff Bridgesâ€™ band â€śThe Abiders.â€ť
My daughter Rani DeMuth is a writer/director filmmaker. She took my 2D art and turned it into a video for the show. Raniâ€™s short film â€śThe Doubleâ€ť starring Eric Roberts received LACMAâ€™S Art of Film Award. Her first feature â€śKilling the Dreamâ€ť is yet to be completed.
5. Can you give us a little preview of what people can expect to experience or hear on May 23?
Let me give you a short passage from the play that hints at the theme:
When I was a little girl, the world was a magic house. Earth, water, fire, air, day and night, the sun and the moonâ€”such a plan! Everything was magic. Baby chicks were little bits of chicken magic. I had to be taught that a chicken is just a chicken. There is no magic in the equation. But as a kid, a chicken materialized out of thin air is no more magical than a chicken hatched from an egg.
Which brings me to the point:
Where do we come from?
Why are we here?
Where are we going?
And why does it cost more every year?
6. Is there anything that you had to cut from this performance that you can share as a sort of â€śbonusâ€ť material for our readers?
A song I wrote the day my mother died called â€śSorrowâ€ť was in the play at one point. In the end, it had to go. Here are the lyrics:
Sorrow, thatâ€™s another word for being born
Sorrow, thatâ€™s the other word for dying
Thatâ€™s the word for me and you passing through.
Love, thatâ€™s the word for eternity
Thatâ€™s the word for nobody
Like me and you passing through.
I know you know you made me crazy
You know I know how low I let you down
Sorrow is loving you more now that youâ€™re not around
Take this kiss I forgot to give
Teach me how to live
Take these words I forgot to say
Know I meant them anyway.
So far, so near, Iâ€™m on my knees
I pray the dead can hear
I love you now, I loved you then
And when I die, Iâ€™ll love you all over again.
Sorrow is loving you more
Sorrow is loving you more
Sorrow is loving you more
Now that youâ€™re not around.
May 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm
The Marsh Theater
1062 Valencia St., San Francisco, 94110
(parking at 21 St. & Bartlett, 3 blocks from 24th & Mission BART)
tickets $10-$15: www.themarsh.org/rising
by phone: 415-282-3055
(click on the flyer image to the left to expand)
Congratulations to SYLVIA MULLALLY! We’ll be in touch shortly for instructions on how to receive your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.