Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work
The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.
Beauty tips from a 17thC book of magic.
another query from rehearsal. Again from the first week of rehearsal, this came our way:
We are swinging into gear up here. On p. 14 of the re-typed script, ADDAPERLE talks about “wave of my wanga” and we have a version of a wanga from props, but Irene is curious about additional research on wangas. She will also be talking to a magic consultant about ADDAPERLE turning this prop into a pair of handkerchiefs or feathers. Any additional information would be a help.
Thank you very much! [see how polite they are? it really helps.]
So, we sent along a few pages of background research—excerpted below—and some additional images, like these. Yep, all for a line of dialogue and a few seconds of stage gimmickry. That is just how we roll.
1) The Wanga are a tribe of the Luhya people of Kenya, one of the most populous and powerful in the area in the 18th and 19th C; today they number about half-a-million. The name seems to have stuck to some religious & magical practices associated with this area, as well as with the nkisi of Congo, that were brought to the West Indies and the Americas.
2) In Obeah and Vodoo, “wanga” most generally just means a spell (see below), but also specifically comes to signify a charm or totem or amulet intended to work a spell (some positive, some negative), and what we think of as a “voodoo doll.” These charms and dolls are known as Wanga Packets, Wanga Dolls, or just plain Wangas…
You might say that the Wizard’s gifts are also a form of Wanga….
3) “The construction of wanga is one of the most often requested ceremonies for a Houngan or Mambo to perform. A wanga is a “spell”. There are many different wanga and many different ways to construct them. Some wanga are the personal secrets of a Houngan or Mambo, and some are known as traditional. When a Houngan/Mambo does a wanga, they are usually said to have ‘mare wanga,’ or tied a wanga.”