SPRING REVELS 2002
The Spring Revels returned to Cambridge
June 21-23, 2002, for four performances at Harvard University's
Padstow, a small fishing village in Cornwall,
is home to one of the oldest and strangest folk rituals in England.
The Padstow 'Obby 'Oss, which was at the core of the May Day celebration,
is a fearsome black-skirted beast with snapping jaws, but its
most terrifying aspect is the beaked, fur-tufted and gaping mask
allegedly brought from Africa to England by merchant sailors involved
in sea trade.
Revellers took a voyage of imagination
with the Cornish sailors responsible for the extraordinary fusion
of African and English cultural imagery that created the Padstow
Mayers ceremony, a strange and symbolic ritual featuring the Padstow
'Obby 'Oss. Like many ancient seasonal folk rituals, the joyful
Padstow Mayers song and ritual dance, performed with "horse" and
teaser, relates to nature's cycle of death and rebirth, and is
still performed annually in the streets of Padstow, hundreds of
years after the ritual's first appearance.
Traditional singers Tony Barrand and John
Roberts (of Nowell Sing We Clear), Nigerian poet Ifeanyi Menkiti,
and versatile Revels performer David Coffin headed a cast of more
than 70 performers which also included The Revels Chorus of adults
and children. Along with the Padstow 'Obby 'Oss, audiences will
enjoy African dancers, Carnival drums and a giant outdoor Maypole!