The Trio

An exploration in the unity and dynamic tension of trios and the bizarre interaction between immortal creatures from ancient mythology and the modern day world.

Photo by Jamie Lyons.

The Trio – or simply, Sisters as they call each other – is comprised of Caroline Parsons, Maria Leigh and Julie Douglas. Photo by Jamie Lyons.

The Trio is up to something…

Welcome to The Trio, a site-specific journey of ancient trios of women coming to public spaces around the Bay Area.

Were you walking along Aquatic Park, and noticed three women clinging to each other while rowing a boat to shore, and as you approached, you noticed that two of them had their eyes closed? You may have encountered the Graeae, a mythological trio of women from Ancient Greece, respectively called Dread, Horror and Alarm.

If you encounter The Trio, comment on this page or drop us a line on our Facebook page or Twitter with the tag #triohappening .

Or maybe they’re only part of your dreams or they came and went to fast and you wish you could see them again. Join our mailing list and select “Presenting Series” under your preferences. This way you’ll be given warning as to an upcoming happening…

Perhaps you’ll meet a maiden, a mother and a crone – the classic archetypes of the female life cycle – and see them spring to life and attempt to build a house out of found materials in a park and live together as best they can inside of it.

The Practice
Our sources include the Kharites (or “Graces”, goddesses of grace, beauty, adornment, mirth, festivity, dance and song), the Moirae (or “Fates”, who spin, measure, and cut the thread of life), the Eumenides (or “Furies” made famous for pursuing Orestes who, with his sister Electra, kills his mother Clytemnestra), the Horae (goddesses of fertility and nature), the Gorgons (the most infamous being Medusa, with snakes for hair), the archetypes of Maiden, Mother, Crone, and our favorite – The Graeae, whose share one eye and one tooth.

For months we have worked alone. In yards, in studios, on boats, and in a particularly memorable episode, in a cemetery. This is slow patient work. We have been focused on exploration without the pressure of imminent performance.

We have recently discovered it is time to take the Graeae out into the world. They have begun taking on simple tasks – crossing the street, buying something from a store, making lunch… In their state of blindness (well, 2 out of 3 are blind at any given time), mostly nonverbal communication, and the mandate that they are always in physical connection with each other, these simple human tasks become extremely complex and are full of surprises for these immortal creatures.

It is time for the Graeae to interact with the world, with human mortals.
This July, the Graeae will gather and make an offering. You are invited to join them.

A note on the process…
This constellation of women began working intensively together in the winter of 2013. The ladies experiment, I observe. Sometimes I lead them, but the joy of working with these women is that for the most part, I simply drop a pebble of a suggestion into the deep pool of their collective creativity and the ripples instantly fan out and spread. Then I watch. I offer prompts, questions, constraints. I keep an eye out for their safety. I learn as they work and am continually inspired. After a few hours of semi-guided exploration, we gather and digest. We part, but the circle keeps cycling back, and we meet again. And again.

At the time we began this work, they had not yet been cast as the Weyward Sisters in We Players’ then upcoming Macbeth at Fort Point, 2013. They effectively began laying the foundation for those particular women seven months prior to the rehearsal process. The work they eventually achieved as the Weyward Sisters would certainly not have been possible without the months of patient process they had invested in advance. It laid the foundation for a deep connection with each other, allowing them to develop a seamless unity. It became the first fully formed and glorious incarnation of The Trio, one you can experience through June 29, 2014! (embedded link to Macbeth 2014/tix page)

Our jumping off point: female trios from Greek mythology. These ancient women have proved an inexhaustible well of inspiration and source material to fuel our investigations. Through the exercises we have created, these women have developed a profound connection and deftness of nonverbal communication, they have a subtle and refined relationship with the places in which they work, and significant agility with connected physicality and locomotion.

– Artistic Director, Ava Roy

The Women

Julie Douglas
This labor of love is a commitment to develop a deep relationship to the work and each other as artistic partners. Partners that I trust and who surprise and challenge me every time we gather. The Trio is a magic number, an alchemical triangle of unique forces that creates a dynamic tension where creation can happen. We witness this in working together as well as the complex relationships of the mythic trios we are exploring.

Maria Leigh
I love the strength and power I find and feel in this trio. I love the vulnerability I feel safe to explore with my sisters. I love the times when we are perfectly in sync and the times when we are utterly distinct. I love mining history and mythology and allowing it to wake and walk through my body. Making what is old seem new and what I thought I knew becoming the unknown.

Caroline Parsons
As we embody and contemplate these ancient trios of women, I see this work as a deep investigation into womanhood. I am drawn particularly to the ways in which the physical work of these women is integral to their power – the fates, in spinning, measuring and cutting their thread are exercising their life giving and taking powers. The maiden, mother and crone are stereotypes that I connect easily to, and revolt heartily against. And the Graeae – three women dependent on one another for sight – most closely represent the foundational magic of working creatively with this ensemble.

2 thoughts on “The Trio

  1. Is there room for a few of the Muses also? They are the inspiration for the creative arts, generally depicted as inspiring some male artist like Milton or Shakespeare. I always felt there must be more to their stories, creative work they did themselves, not as cheerleaders to men. Maybe take a look at some of the Muses too.

  2. I saw the performance on June 28. In an evening full of highlights, a big one was walking through the long hall in anticipation of hot tea. In the first few rooms, it felt like an intermission and I enjoyed looking at the photos of Fort Point history. As I slowly moved to the end of the hall, the voices of the sisters and their droning “song” brought me back into the play. Going through the last 3 rooms, a sister in each singing beautifully and being weird, was powerful stuff. The voices shifted from unison to harmony and back including moments out of phase reminded me of Philip Glass. Brilliant. So much going on in this production…Thanks!

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