Who is Melusine?
Melusine is both a mythic and historical character in French legend. She is best known for her secret: that every Saturday, she had to disappear into the bath, where the lower part of her body took on the form of a serpent.
Melusine was a great queen and benefactress. Her mother was a “maiden of the wells,” a fairy from the “Lost Isles” of Avalon. Her father was a mortal king, the king of Albany, now Scotland. Melusine became entangled in mortal life, married, and had ten sons who were powerfully gifted and cursed. She was said to have built many cities and abbeys, some of which still exist in France. This mythic queen left her imprint on the physical landscape of France and Scotland, and her baffling story draws us back to early Christianity and the demonization of the enchantress.
We’ll be working with a text I have carefully drawn from two stories, written in 1393 and 1401. They were both penned by storytellers who were attempting to tie royal families to the magical bloodline of Melusine.
In “The THREADS of Melusine,” I’ll be inviting you to find and follow your own thread in the story. You might find it in a character, in history, in art, or in related myths. Through our different, self-directed paths of inquiry, we’ll explore the many dimensions of Melusine and the possibility of bringing her forth in performance.