A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Saint Hildegard

Saint Hildegard
25 February 2023
Vault Festival
3.0 out of 5.0 stars

I am a bit torn about this one. While it was interesting in the way it was presented, and is still a work in progress, it also had many issues that I can’t just look past.

Hildegard Von Bingen is a saint of the catholic church, she lived in Western Germany between 1098 and 1179, and is considered a polymath, prolific composer, and founder of scientific natural history in Germany. She was a writer, composer, mystic, medical practitioner, philosopher, and visionary. An extraordinary woman with a very well documented and impressive body of work.

Saint Hildegard tackles her story in an interesting way, with three women representing Hildegard at different stages in her life. They whirl through the room, reciting Hildegard’s life from birth to death and the many things that happened in between.

While I did enjoy the idea behind this, I found the execution a little uncomfortable. The piece lacked subtlety, and felt like an odd mixture of lecture and interpretive performance. I would have liked to see more details of Hildegard’s life and work, rather than a lengthy shower scene, and a musical interlude of Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. While there was the occasional audience interaction, it felt like an afterthought, not an integral part of the play. A bit clumsy in its attempt to tell a woman’s life in her own words.

Though I did enjoy the fact that towards the end of the performance, the audience was presented with small cards that each contained a small work of Hildegard’s, like a recipe from her medical books. It was obvious that someone had done very detailed research to understand this woman and her life, I just found the presentation too clumsy, the portrayal of such an accomplished woman so lofty, it verged on vapidity.

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