Welcome to the world of Goblin Men, where fruits are sold for locks of hair, and lives are lost for having their share! Goblin Market, a staged play, performed on campus in the Factory on March 24th and 25th, was a student led project that brought nineteenth century English writer Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Goblin Market,” to life. Directed by second year student, Nora Stone, and adapted for the stage by second year student Mica Toscanna, the play was an impressive example of how students can bring their creative dreams to life with just a little dedication, patience, and artistic verve.
(Photo Credit: Maya Lascelles. Director Nora Stone in the center, with tech assistant Robin Schubert in the background.)
Stretching back to September 2022, I remember my friend Nora describing her plan to bring the play to life. “It’s about these two sisters, and the fruit-selling Goblins who try to lure them in. Everyone has a different interpretation of the poem, but basically it’s about addiction with violent sexual undertones.” Her description had me hooked, so when she asked me to be a goblin in the play I said, “Yes…yes, yes, yes!”
Nora had, in fact, been toying with the idea of making “Goblin Market” into a play since the summer. “My good friend Mica and I were traveling together last summer and we were talking about how nice it was to have finally found a sense of community, specifically a community of friends who also happen to be artists we really respect,” she explained to me over lunch. “We just wanted to make something, we didn’t know yet what we wanted to make, but we knew it had to happen.”
(Photo Credit: Maya Lascelles. Oona Montandon and Goblins; Zoe Whittman, Mica Toscanna, Ketevan Kancheveli and me.)
At first Nora and Mica’s idea was not centered on “Goblin Market”, but La Vida Es Sueno, a much longer play. However exciting this possibility was, they realized this project would be too grand to pull off within a semester, especially considering that everyone involved would be giving up most of their free time to do the play without getting paid. Because “Goblin Market” was a poem Nora’s father would often read to her as a child, she felt she knew it intimately enough to direct it. To hear more about Nora’s experience directing Goblin Market, listen here:
(Photo Credit: Maya Lascelles. Lead actresses, Georgia Weaver and Oona Montandon.)
We began rehearsing in November, gathered in Nora’s living room.. Working with Nora became an exciting and inspiring experience for me. During our first rehearsals each cast member, Georgia Weaver, Oona Montandon, Zoe Whittman, Mica Toscanna, and Ketevan Kancheveli, were asked to put on their favorite song to dance to and have the others try and follow their movements as accurately as they could. This was meant to help us learn how to move in sync with each other and become more familiar with the way each of us moved. But my favorite part of the rehearsals was our workshops in soundmaking. Putting on ominous music, Nora would ask us to close our eyes and imagine our Goblin creature with all its facets. Then, touching our heads one at a time we would begin to make the sounds we envisioned our Goblins would make. “How does your Goblin sound? How does your Goblin move?” This practice in imagination was crucial to creating our characters and binding our relationships to them. I discovered that my Goblin persona was creepy and violent; growls erupted from me that I could not believe came out of my own mouth.
(Photo Credit: Maya Lascelles.)
As the performance approached we were in awe of our real progress; all the pieces were falling into place. What once seemed like an impossible goal, was coming to life before our eyes, created by our very own hands, bodies, and minds. I was struck most by the intimacy and vulnerability that we had established together over the many months of rehearsals. I felt as though I were on a familial level with everyone who made up our small community of artists. Friends came to our aid to help, set up the stage, figure out how to work the lights, take footage of the performance, and to simply support us. I could not be more grateful for having been a part of such an experience. For a glimpse into the play, watch the video below!