"Without man the world was born and without him it will end"

[Banff 1985 - bp nichol as the Presenter.
Photo by Jerrard]
The setting is a small, remote lake just before dawn. Singers and musicians have been positioned around the lake's perimeter. The audience arrives in darkness and is led to a cleared space at the water's edge. A haunting aria floats across the water as a dim light is seen approaching from the far side of the lake. Mingling with the sounds of awakening birds and other wildlife, and the murmuring of the forest, we hear a chant and as the light draws nearer we begin to discern a figure, in a canoe, dressed as a creature of the woods. This is the Presenter, who is our interpreter.

He relates a legend of the Princess of the Stars who, listening from the heavens, hears the cry of Wolf and falls to Earth. How Wolf, frightened, wounds her. How she is captured by the 3-Horned Enemy and taken to the bottom of the lake. With the help of the Dawn Birds, Wolf begins his search for the Princess, a search that will take the two through many lives and places. The Wolf, the Three-Horned Enemy and the Sun are represented by giant puppet structures built onto large canoes. The Dawn Birds are winged dancers, also in canoes.

The Princess of the Stars was originally presented on a small lake outside Toronto in 1981 by New Music Concerts, then remounted in 1985 for the Banff School of Fine Arts summer festival on a remote lake in Banff National Park. Over 5000 people made the pre-dawn trek to see the Banff spectacle during the three mornings it was presented. Patria Music/Theatre Projects (the organization that is set up to produce the Patria works) will remount Princess of the Stars in September 1997.