Donkey Mass

Premiére date23 Oct. 2011
Produced byStella Polaris
AudienceYouth, Adults, Families
ExpressionsPhysical theatre, Commedia dell’arte, Concert, Clownery, Jester Theatre, Street theatre, Passion Play, Theatre
Running period23 Oct. 2011  
WebsiteStella Polaris

About Donkey Mass

Donkey Mass (2011) by Stella Polaris reflects a historical epoch in the Northern countries. The Feast of the Ass is a tradition from medieval Europe, and the production Donkey Mass takes the tradition into our time.

The audience revisits the ass and the people of the ass in the memories of an aging soul who never fully dared to live nor to be true to himself. In the deepest dark of the night a light is lit. He can hear donkeys whinny and a child cry. Night rooms a miracle.

The production defends its title by using the ceremonial structure of the mass:Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. A donkey, or an ass, is also used as a sign in the narrative.

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Vokalensemblet Lilja

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    More about Donkey Mass

    Donkey Mass by Stella Polaris unites the tradition and a newly written story.

    The Feast of the Ass was arranged around Christmas. The feast has clear shamanistic characteristics, differing from the ordinary church order and customs. 'Ecstatic mysticism' is a term to describe the cult-like basic tone. The feast also presented an image of Christ as the saviour among the small, the outcasts, and not as a guarantor of the established church hierarchy.

    In Donkey Mass the character of the narrator is a lonely old man in death's waiting room. The textual core of the production consists of five letters the old man sends his sister.

    The letters reflect a life of lost opportunities. What if he had followed the dreams of his youth? What if he had followed his muse? What if he had felt stronger commitment to his own inner voices, than to the projections of the wills of others, having led him to loneliness and isolation?

    While the texts convey restriction bordering inhibitions, the action taking place in the room is free bordering limitless. As angels the fools are only capable of one characteristic at the time, such as delight, virility, curiosity, anger, courage, regret. The outer action is presented as images within the mind of the old man. It touches the longing for trust in his own emotions, and the courage to realise them.

    All of this takes place in a sacred room uniting the human and the spiritual, earth and heaven. The divide between the outer and the inner, the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine, is not just something the old one suffer from, perhaps do we all. There is an element of cultural criticism in the production, including elements from the old Feast of the Ass. The Feast of the Ass tells the story of the suppressed, the story of the donkey, the story of the poor, the story of the suffering earth.

    Time has come for the old man to step out of his closed room to breathe some air.

    The Christmas party turns everything upside-down. The child in the manger is of royal descent. The stable is a heavenly throne. A whinnying donkey carries the mother of God to Bethlehem and is the first dazed witness everything is possible.

    Donkey Mass by Stella Polaris was supported by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (travel grant/performing arts).


    Stella Polaris,, 07.01.2012,