Katabasis is an ancient Greek word meaning a descent. It can mean the sinking of the winds or sun, following a river down towards the sea (in some texts it’s a military retreat) or – more importantly for us – a trip to the underworld. A gradual deepening or descending in the search for understanding. Team Snow Q recently re-visited the Regency Town House Annexe Basement in Hove – the site for our collaborative installation re-imagining Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen, which will take place at Winter Solstice, on December 21st, 2018. Details about this will follow in a later post but meanwhile Dagmara and Wendy explain why we chose this exciting space:
There are many stories within stories in the Snow Queen. They vary in length and pace and some may even lack an obvious purpose. The structure doesn’t have an apparent pattern, symmetry or rhythm, yet re-reading it doesn’t increase one’s frustration but allows one to see new and unexpected themes and moods. The layout of the basement annex, which was the former servants quarters of The Regency Town House and the chosen venue for our production, is not unlike the story of the Snow Queen. Once you step inside, the long dark corridor takes you straight through the entire basement. All the rooms lead off the corridor and the visitor can experience the space as easily as you can read Hans Christian’s Andersen tale within one sitting.
There was an obvious parallel for us between the story of the Snow Queen and the dark ambience of this basement annex.
The Annex wasn’t completely new to us as we had visited it over the years to see art exhibitions and events but the potential to transform the space still feels limitless. Like in the Snow Queen, there are as many moods and emotional textures as there are rooms within the basement. Each room seems to offer a different scope for an emotional narrative. The newly restored, austere servant’s room we imagined could be occupied by the puritanical Grandmother character of Kai and Gerda (or maybe even by Andersen himself) while the servants’ kitchen we can visualise transforming in to the flamboyant flower garden. There are stairs that lead nowhere. Hiding places for keeping secrets, windows and peeping holes and a claustrophobic, moody meat safe.
Every time we examine this space, we step into another world and discover something new.
If you would like to know a little bit more about the history of the Regency Town House and the Basement Annexe where our event will take a place, please visit this website:
Exciting events are organised on regular basis and you can even be taken on a guided tour by one of the many very knowledgeable volunteers.