Introduction

This Cave 3.0 platform is a work in progress matching  the state of advancement  of the Opera
all along its making until the last scheduled performance. Afterwards, as part of the Documentation,
it will be turned into an Open Access educational repository.

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Cave 3.0 is a contemporary multidisciplinary opera in 2 acts, Prelude, 7 seven scenes, and Epilogue, integrating live performance and hologram in an innovative theatrical language. It is a production depicting the creation and development of human consciousness as perceived and narrated throughout different epics around the world. Each of the seven scenes is framed in a geo-cultural thematic area, portraying a distinct tier of the development of consciousness in each chosen culture, at times addressing and referring to archetypes drawn from traditional lore and, occasionally, quoting verses clothed into their respective theatrical forms.
Cave 3.0 is a unique artistic endeavour in that it integrates live performance and holograms into a new whole advanced theatricality: the stage project combines live performers, music, singers, and dancers alongside hologram imagery as an integral part of the stage language. The use of holograms, combined with live performances, challenges the definition and the boundaries between film and theatre, between matter and antimatter, between sensory perception and illusion and aims to advance both the stage aesthetical discourse and its fruition. Cave 3.0 aims to create an innovative operatic language using the most advanced technology and stage production to share the most ancient and rooted human myths. {…}

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Cave 3.0 is a multidisciplinary opera integrating live performance and hologram in an innovative theatrical language never seen before on stage. It is a production depicting the creation and development of human consciousness as perceived and narrated throughout different epics around the world.
The title borrows from Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’ (The Republic, Book VII) exemplifying the development of human consciousness as it appears through various myths and cultures.
The journey unwinds in a sevenfold dimensional paradigm 1 — an archetype persisted from antiquity to present in almost all epochs and cultures throughout the ages — here casted in a three layered cube stage-setting on which the operatic action unwraps , typifying the higher, the medial and the lower planes of manifestation, respectively, the esoteric, the mesoteric  and the exoteric consciousness, and other correlated three layered models2, embodied in the corresponding vertical planes of the Staged Cube3 [fig. 1], the Paradigmatic Matrix stage-setting on which the operatic action unfolds.

1. The sevenfold paradigm is a model of reality shared by many traditions and is to be found, among others, in cosmological, philosophical, anthropological, mythical and physical systems. Some of its most familiar correlations are, to name a few, the 7 steps of creation/emanation; the prismatic refraction of white light into 7 colors, the musical scale, the week-span, the chakras system, showing a deep rooted origin, ostensibly reflecting a universal archetypal paradigm in human consciousness.
2. The three vertical planes stand respectively for the esoteric, the mesoteric and the exoteric consciousness, but also for the intellectual-emotional-moving human centres, the spirit-soul-body triad, the thesis-synthesis-antithesis dialectical moments, the Etz haChayim, the Trinity, the Gunas trichotomy, etc., and here also for the visual-musical-textual semiotic fields of the opera, and its aria-chorus-recitativo main formal elements.

3. In this context the Cube represents a complex symbolic and metaphorical element, it is the Manifestation, the Earthly realm, the corner-stone of any house and structure, the inner space, truth, etches, perfection, within the limits of human nature.


theoretical framework

The evolution of human consciousness, and of civilisation  can be set, to the effect of this context, into seven successive stages as outlined below4, even though it’s never safe to expect an exact parallelism between different paradigms portraying the evolution of human consciousness.

4. ^ Some major features of this archetypical dimensional cosmology, based, among others, on the works of S. Aurobindo, J.G. Bennett, E. Corbin, J. Gebser, G.I. Gurdjieff, A. Maslow, M. S. Sumohadiwidjojo, P. Teihlard de Chardin, and K. Wilber, can be roughly summarised as listed below, taking well into account that each stage/phase is a dynamic pattern that receives, perceives, is permeated and actualises values percolated from the next evolutionary phase, yet latently present in the stage itself; that it broadens its own frame of reference by reconciling previously oppositions, and by shaping up a complex system of evolutionary ‘attempts’ aiming to forge the most fitting outcome to fulfil the proviso to transmute a quantum leap into its next stage; and that there is a distinction to be drawn between consciousness and awareness, as the former arises in partnership with mater and provides the reflective capacity, while the latter is identical with the Life-force of the underlying meta-universe and is characterized by unconditional knowing.

1 ~ Material stage/phase. Monodimensional, contracted consciousness; egocentric. Archaic; magic era.
At individual/identity level, pre-reflexive consciousness, no self-differentiation, the self identifies with external stimuli, and is projected in material objects, unconscious fusion of self and world, lack of ethical discernment and of the faculty of choice, the being relies on instinct; the path to enlightenment is via the illumination of thought; spiritual development can be communicated by spoken words and can be followed.
At social/historic level, roughly 500,000 years ago, the human populations consists of unrelated tribal egocentric units, with blood and kinship relations as their major relationship form; cognition is pre-operational, imbued with fantasy and magic; when tribes come in contact there is war, and the taking of the other tribe as slaves.
Keywords: sensory world, instinct, sensation, sense of property, power, quantity, insensitiveness, fear, anxiety. Element earth.

2 ~ Vegetal stage/phase. Bidimensional, surface consciousness; consciousness of bodily sensations, egocentric. Hunter-gatherers; magic-mythic era.
At individual/identity level, identity is associated with physical existence; emotional reaction to the environment; no distinct sense of time or causality, immediacy of life experience; the path to enlightenment is via the feelings, emotional illumination.
At social/historic level, roughly 35,000 years ago, humanity reaches a distinct capacity for self-reflective consciousness; perceptions are limited, social organisation is on a tribal scale, life is centred on gathering and hunting existence; matrilineal cultures, nature is perceived as intensely alive and filled with mysterious forces, magical rituals.
Keywords: emotions, dualism, pride, selfishness, devotion. Element water, symbolic of feelings.

3 ~  Animal sage/phase. Depth consciousness; ethnocentric. Agrarian-based civilizations; mythic era.

At individual/identity level, awareness, not self-awareness; more complex cognitive function, concrete operational; conscious of feelings; sexual differentiation; exclusiveness; the self takes the role of the other, expands its primary identity to a group(s), from egocentric to ethnocentric, based on race, color, sex, creed, etc. bound by a common belief, a set of rules and laws; religiosity, authority; capacity of imagination, empathy; illumination via the intellect.
At social/historic level, roughly 10,000 years ago human perception expands to include a new sense of time embracing nature’s sea-sons and cycles, emergence of farming consciousness; ritual observance, conformity to the group, magic is transferred from the self to supernatural mythic beings, gods and goddesses and elemental spirits who perform it.
Around 3,500 B.C., development of systematic agriculture, food surplus and formation of great cities; development of basic arts of civilization, writing; great religions, priestly class, patriarchy, division of labor, city-state governments, massive architecture, nations, empires; traditional civilisations, magic-mythic warrior cultures.
Keywords: loyalty, group, cognition, ritual, fighter, challenger, warrior. Element fire.

4 ~ Human sage/phase – dual nature: a) ephemeral physical vessel; dynamic consciousness. Scientific-industrial modern era; b) spiritual content: reflective consciousness. Communication-technological era.
At individual/identity level, self-centric, thinking-based sense of the self, existential ego, self-conscious; identification with the intellect; resurrection and eternity as article of faith, self-purification, individual dignity; spiritual loyalty displaces that of blood and relinquish family ties, alone wandering; strong feminine element; illuminated mind transcends thought through inner vision.
At social/historic level, emergence of the capacity to take a 3rd-person perspective, primary identity from ethnocentric to world-centric (all-humans centred), transpersonal consciousness; think in global objective and universal manner, striving to treat all people fairly, regardless of race, colour, sex, or creed. Slavery is outlawed in modern-rational society. Around 1400 C.E, culture-wide view – the Renaissance; around 1700 C.E. nature’s mystery and magic are replaced by science and the analysing intellect – the Enlightenment; dynamic sense of time with materialistic view of reality, material progress is primary focus; modern sciences, technical innovation, mass production, extreme division of labour, global free market economy, massive urban centres, rise of strong nation-states.
Keywords: stage of reason, rational, formal operational, positivism, modernity, achievement, accomplishment, merit, creative thought, self-actualization. Element air.

5 ~  Collective stage/phase. Oceanic consciousness; worldcentric. Post-modern era.
At individual/identity level, acquisition of the I, self-knowledge, conscious of consciousness, spiritual potentialities, the next world is actualised in the present, access to higher knowledge, detachment, inner vitality, sense of compassion and awareness of unity of human community, deep bonding, renewed connection with nature, identity embraces observer and observed.
At social/historic level, around 1960, decline of the rational/business/scientific materialism, emergence of postmodern, worldcentric morality – all people have intrinsic worth, regardless of race, colour, sex, or creed, each one deservers an equal economic and social opportunity; cross-cultural learning; human rights, integrity of global environment, shared vision and implementation of sustainable development; globalisation; conversation on how to deal with the intertwined system of problems threatening collective future; system thinking; social system allows both ethnocentric and egocentric stages, social Darwinism, local-to-global communication.
Keywords: intuitive mind, self-integration, bodhisattvas, community, bonding, human rights, green movement, civil rights move-ment, environmental and sustainability movement, personal and professional feminism. Element aether (quintessence/akasha).

6 ~ Compassionate stage/phase. Flow consciousness; worldcentric. Post-ideological era.
At individual/identity level, cosmic evolution, transcendence, knowledge of its own evolution, power beyond personal state, new level of human creativity, dynamic creative impulse exteriorised  awareness through all levels of existence, cosmic process experienced as continuously arising, eternal now, experience of the self before the world of forms, aliveness and eternal nature of the being, permanent connection with the source, overmind.
At social/historic level, strong bonding in global community, sustainability of the planet, planetary civilisation  balance of creativity and diversity.
Keywords: compassion, sense of Now, present, awareness, unity, mindfulness, sustainability.

7 ~ Creative stage/phase. Integral consciousness; cosmicentric. Post-metaphysical, planetary era.
At individual/identity level, awareness of the sacred aspect of creation, understanding of the mysteries of genesis; ever present origin, self-organising  self-remembering identity; wisdom, creativity, and compassion to sustain the future; participation in cosmic scale evolution, one’s own being experienced as existing beyond the world of forms and of not being other than the entire world in continual becoming; completion of the process of development and foundation for a new beginning, the human being has completed and attained all that is possible to attain.
At social/historic level, 4th-person perspective, capacity to reflect on, and critically analyse global productions; species-civilization.
Keywords: ultimate realm, awakening; transcendence and immanence a once, being and becoming are one; superman is one with spirit, foundation of all levels.

  1. Material. Monodimensional, contracted consciousness. Archaic; magic era.
  2. Vegetal. Bidimensional, surface consciousness. Hunter-gatherers; magic-mythic era.
  3. Animal. Depth consciousness. Agrarian-based civilisations; mythic era.
  4. Human – it has a dual nature: a) physical vessel; and b) spiritual content.
    1. Dynamic consciousness. Scientific-industrial modern era.
    2. Reflective consciousness. Communication-technological era.
  5. Collective. Oceanic consciousness. Post-modern era.
  6. Compassionate. Flow consciousness. Post-ideological era.
  7. Creative. Integral consciousness. Post-metaphysical, planetary era.

Each, stage indwells its own signature, or force, whose operative modality consists of specific characteristics. These stages are perceived as a sequence by a linear modality, yet in a quantum perspective, and in the human make-up, they are non-linear, nonlocal and co-existing, and in a non-linear manner they are performed in this work.
In Cave 3.0, these 7 stages of consciousness are freely integrated into 7 geo-cultural thematic areas, from which selected primary literary and theatrical forms are drawn, eventually to be performed, not necessarily in this following order:

  • South Asia – India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Tantra, kathakali;
  • Southeast Asia – Indonesia: Sufism, wayang, silat;
  • Eastern Asia – Japan: Zen, Nô, Butoh;
  • West Africa – Nigeria: Yoruba, Ifá, Egungun;
  • Northeast Africa & Middle East – Israel, Turkey, Syria: Kabbalah, Hasidism, hora, deka; Sufism, darkish, tatbir, Naqqâli.
  • Southeast Europe – Greece: Ancient Greece, mythology, Eleusis, tragedy;
  • South Europe – Italy: Fedeli d’amore, Commedia dell’ Arte, Opera.

Each embedding a sub-narrative of daily concern (poverty, gender issues, love, politics, etc), depicting the complexity and beauty of human consciousness throughout ages, geographical areas, ethnicities, and cultural realms.

project description

Cave 3.0 is a contemporary multidisciplinary opera in 2 acts, Prelude, 7 seven scenes, and Epilogue. The interval between the two acts is set between the 4th and the 5th scene, marking a change in the narration tempo.
Cave 3.0 is a unique artistic endeavour in that it integrates live performance and holograms5 into a new whole advanced theatricality: the stage project combines live performers, music, singers, and dancers alongside hologram imagery as an integral part of the stage language. The use of holograms, combined with live performances, challenges the definition and the boundaries between film and theatre, between matter and antimatter, between sensory perception and illusion. Holograms appear as scenographic elements, as characters and objects, both concrete and abstract, movable and still, coming to life and vanishing as deemed necessary by the unfolding narrative. Herein, they are, and represent, the subtle aspect of reality, the “fifth wall” binding the performers to the audience and the symbol to the symbolized.

5. The hologram (Gr. holos, whole + gramma, that which is written) technology is an emerging craft and technique enacted by means of photographic and video projections to give rise to 3D images. It is influencing human communication and visualization, while already opening up vast possibilities in the artistic field.

The libretto spans along various planes of references, from daily and ordinary to aulic and symbolic language, gradually taking hold and integrating both the discursive strategy and the narrative trajectories in an intermedial relationship with music and the other semiotic fields. Performers and roles are interchangeable throughout the work, whose internal time of narration unwinds linearly from night to day and from void to fullness.
Each of the seven scenes is framed in a geo-cultural thematic area, portraying a distinct tier of the development of consciousness in each chosen culture, at times addressing and referring to archetypes drawn from traditional lore, and occasionally, quoting verses clothed into their respective theatrical forms.
Cave 3.0 aims to advance both the stage aesthetical discourse and its fruition to an unprecedented noetic and experiential level, creating an innovative operatic language.