Some attributes of Papa Legba: loa of crossroads, ways & thresholds; facilitator of communication, speaking all languages; speaker & way-keeper between the world of the living & of the dead; he is syncretised with St Anthony, patron saint of lost things.
One of the interesting & trickier questions in thinking about making an event for/with/through/in Talliston is the relationship of the spaces to each other & how this affects those experiencing the house itself & any event therein. Each space (room or garden) has - is - its own time zone, location, has its own multi-layered history, & its own sound & scent. There are no neutral in-between spaces to buffer the transitions - any space between rooms is a place in in its own right (the palazzo Hall of Mirrors stairway & entrance vestibule filled with clocks, the Fountain Courtyard), so the visitor to the house moves instantly between space, place & time.
For a visitor on a guided tour of the house, this can be exhilarating even as it can be disorientating, the labyrinth pathway dissolving a sense of conventional layout, while the guided aspect provides a continuous thread that stands in for a through-narrative (the umbrella narrative being the story of the house's transformation: conception, evolution & completion), as the visitor is dropped in & out of each room or garden's specific story.
For an event like ours, things become more complicated. As we engage with the immersive natures & histories of the spaces, we are also evolving our own takes on them, as we develop ways of exploring the rooms & gardens using sound, performance & other elements. But this separates us from Talliston's overarching narratives - its creation history, the guided thread, & the new narrative introduced in the Stranger's Guide to Talliston novel - & this separation gives us an interesting problem, because however engaging we can make the experience of each space, the participants' overall experience risks being a dislocated, serial one of separated spaces without the satisfying accumulation serial structures can bring, or the warmth of comprehension of an overall through-narrative to tie the spaces together.
So, this leaves us with some approaches to consider - we might highlight the dislocations, the labyrinthine disorientation, the juxtapositions & jump cuts; we might create our own through-narrative, tying the spaces together, guiding the experience of the participants; or we might find a way to smooth the passage between spaces whilst still leaving the narrative relatively unimposed, available to each visitor to craft for themselves.
A possibility might be to reconsider the relationship of the spaces to each other - instead of fully separate spaces, one might conceive a situation where the spaces have been brought into contact with each other, where the thresholds, boundaries are blurring, & where (while each space retains all of its particular, engaging character, nuances & histories) elements might emerge (however tiny) & manifest, to indicate a strange overlapping or interpolation of the spaces - an approach which may open up ways to explore any of the ways our guests might experience the event.
A question of stories: an intersecting, overlapping, emerging, layered, fragmenting constellation of stories & how they are experienced, & the bigger stories they coalesce to form?
One of the most creatively seductive rooms in the house is the Room of Dreams, the Alhambra palace bedroom, whose travel-writer inhabitant has decorated the walls with souvenirs from her many journeys. The room itself, with its gauze net hazing the bed & is suggestion of a continuation beyond the window draws the visitor into a dreamlike state. The room is suffused by its own dreams, the dream of its own time & place, & the dreams of places travelled to & experiences lived - but the filtered light calls other possibilities & states of dreaming: the dreams brought in by creators & collaborators; the dreams of our audience; the dream states of the other rooms & their inhabitants; the dreams we follow; & it seems humans are not the only animals who dream....
Another room currently occupying my thoughts is the Haunted Bedroom, whose ambience perfectly captures its gothic narrative, a tale of hauntings & a dead child. But how else might we explore the idea of haunting, or hauntings? Haunting is a word we use more widely alongside the ghostly connotations - we are haunted by a melody or a phrase, an event or a place that resurfaces in our memories; places we return to time after time are our haunts - we ourselves haunt them; & this brings us back to being haunted by people, leading us back to our own & others' ghost stories.
& what else does the room give us? what to make of the ceiling decorated wth children's stories & fairytales? having recently recovered childhood books of fairytales, whose text & illustrations had remained more embedded in memory than i had realised, perhaps this lends us another aspect to the hauntings this room might encompass...