Skeleton Woman

Skeleton Woman
Tamsin Williams performing in Skeleton Woman. Photogaph: Nick Sayers.
Skeleton Woman

Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, June 2003

A story-telling performance with projections by Saffron McCaughna and Tamsin Williams.

This was an end-of-term student collaboration created during the Northbrook College HND course in Brighton run by Kirstie Seabourne, Miranda and Alister O’Laughin.

Saffron McCaughna tells the story by candlelight whilst Tamsin Williams performs a ghostly white character twisting and turning to bring the archetypal tale of Skeleton Woman to life. The tale addresses the cyclical nature of life and death in relationships. It is an ancient story about a terrified fisherman who accidentally hooks Skeleton Woman from beneath the ocean and drags her to the surface.

The hunter had turned to scoop up his net, so he did not see her bald head rise above the waves, he did not see the little coral creatures glinting in the orbs of her skull, he did not see the crustaceans on her old ivory teeth. When he turned back with his net, her entire body, such as it was, had come to the surface and was hanging from the tip of the kayak by her long front teeth.

Except from ‘Skeleton Woman’ in ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Skeleton Woman

The performance is punctuated with symbolic references to water and fire through vibrant video projections onto the white body.

Jung saw cultural tales such as Skeleton Woman as reflecting our collective unconscious. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, a Jungian analyst and storyteller believes Skeleton Woman resembles Lady Death:

“In a relationship she has the role of the oracle who knows when it is time for cycles to begin and end.”

‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’, Clarissa Pinkola Estés
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