What's New and What Inspires Us.
Find out what's happening in the world of the Hares. From our exciting new projects, to the people, places and plays that are just inspiring us right now. Articles, reviews, and persistent ponderings.
Not Another Bloody Play-
A Premier Success Story - October 2018
On the 19th of October (2018) The Twisted Hares readied themselves for their first performance outside of University: ‘Not Another Bloody Play’. The devised 30-minute stint was commissioned as part of the Woman’s Environmental Network’s, Environmenstrual Festival Week. The event drew visitors from around the world, raising awareness of the devastating impact women, specifically sanitary products women use, have on the environment. This was the basis for ‘Not Another Bloody Play’. Using songs, music, poetry and scene work to create an eclectic comedy performance that explored the themes of periods and their impact on women and the environment; the play, though light in nature, hit on some really heavy and dark moments, resonating the seriousness of these issues. The aim: to raise awareness of the impact these products have on the environment, share ideas and experience of alternatives and reduce the taboo and silence surrounding women’s periods. Using life story’s collected through candid conversation with real women, The Twisted Hares were given structure and inspiration with which to base scenes, and eventually the play, upon.
Needless to say, the play was a resounding success, with tickets completely selling out a week before curtain up. Some audience members said, ‘It was amazing, honestly, it was the best part of the day!’ ‘you are so funny, I wish you had performed at my school!’, giving The Hares a real boost to continue working on a full-length performance, coming soon!
See some of the snaps taken at the premier, below.
Hares Throughout World Folklore
29 August 2018
Hares are portrayed in stories around the world in many different ways, with particularly strong links to women and the moon. In early tales in ancient Egyptian, Greek and European folklore they were portrayed as goddess' and messengers of gods. They were believed to be associated with femininity, fertility, and the moon cycles, but also in Egyptian and European folklore they were believed to be androgynous, shifting between genders. One goddess associated with hares was Artemis, goddess of wild places & hunting. Another, was the Germanic sky goddess Holda who was often followed by a procession of hares. In China, they believed there was a hare actually in the moon, who mixes an elixir of immortality. In Norse mythology too hares are associated with Goddess Freyja, the headstrong Norse goddess of love, sensuality, and women’s mysteries, and in Anglo-Saxon myths Eostre, goddess of the moon, fertility, and spring, was depicted with hares heads or ears, with a white hare at her side.
In Native American and African cultures they see the hare as a trickster. In America the hare has a special relationship to the Algonquin-speaking tribes of the northeast, Manabush, Nanabush, and Michabo. They refer to the hare in their stories as The Great Hare; who has a dual nature. One is more of a trickster while the other is a culture-hero, a figure who makes society possible.
This 'dual nature' has good and bad connotations. The trickster is selfish and driven by it’s own sexual desires and the hero is concerned with making the world a better place by wanting to make the environment more habitable.
In India they are depicted as wily tricksters, in Tibetan tales they are quick thinking and can outwit a lion. In Japan the hare is just as sly as their favourite trickster animal, the fox. They also have clownish and mischievous natures that they associated with the male, well as foxes use their wiles through seductive means, and are usually female. In African cultures the hare is seen too as a trickster.
In Angela Carter’s book of fairytales, A Global Collection of Stories, there is a tale translated from Swahili called 'The Hare’. In the story the hare goes to the house of a hunter, and asks the hunter’s wife
‘Come to my house and live with me; we have meat and vegetables every day'.
In the story the wife goes with the hare, but after eating the grass and seeing where he slept she wanted to go home. So she asks the hare to go with her, then tricks the hare into getting firewood, and then boils it in pot for her and her husband.
It seems the woman has learnt from the hare’s trickery and plays the same trick on him. In this tale the hare, is quite naïve to believe the woman. The hare is not always solely portrayed as a trickster they have equal parts, hero, trickster and clownish nature.
Tribes in West Africa have a tradition of storytelling cycles which features the ‘irrepressible hare’. In a pan-African tale, it speaks of the moon who sends the hare as a messenger down to earth to give mankind the gift of immortality. The moon says to the hare
"Tell them that just as the Moon dies and rises again, so shall you."
The hare playing the buffoon, and adhering to it’s clownish nature, messes up the message, and bestows mortality, and brings death to the human world. The moon is angry and splits the hare’s lip. In some versions it is his nose, which they say remains to this day, which is why the hare has a slit in its nose. This story has a Aesop tale feel, much like the 'The leopard got his spots'.
The hare is demoted from messenger of the gods, to lead the dead to the afterlife on the river stinx as a penance for what he’s done. This demotion ties in with how the hares were perceived later, post-Christianity as associated with the dead, dark arts, witches and familiars.
Witches, Familiars and Shape-Shifters
The Ash Tree by M.R James
Hares in stories and literature are often portrayed as tricksy characters, the most famous example would be the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland. This tradition falls into many tales across the world. In pagan times hares were symbols of goddesses, fertility, sexual pleasure, the lunar cycle. When Christianity came to Europe they were seen as suspicious and often linked with witches or shape-shifters.
In the book A Treasury of British Folklore, it speaks of how hares were used in magic in the roman era; Boudicca, Queen of Iceni was known to release a hare from the folds of her clothing as a form of divination: whichever direction the hare took as it ran would give the prediction.
This feeling of unease about the hare carried on into fiction of the ghostly kind , as a M.R James, a Victorian writer, wrote in this short story ‘The Ash Tree’. Hare is seen as running across the grass after it tells of a witch who lives in the ash tree. It is implied that the hare is the woman, it shape shifts.