In The Secret Commonwealth, dancers perform roles that correspond to aspects of imagination. These characters are aspects of "life imagined as a journey."
The Contrary embodies a free spirit who mocks and rejects repression and conformity. The Contrary is a "trickster," whose unrestrained behavior exposes hypocrisy. Ignored, imitated, scorned, attacked, and idolized, he is the subject of envy and fear. The Contrary is the antithesis of normality.
The Spider Granny is the oldest character in the group. She has lived to the extremity of age and has experienced more of life than any of the others. She has wisdom and compassion. She receives the gift of life with joy. She is an image of totality, integrating all the characters.
The Arrow is the first Guide of the Traveler and the People. She is strong-willed and unafraid to penetrate the unknown. She is a risk taker, an explorer, and the embodiment of the Four Qualities of the Hunter's Way: Perseverance, Stealth, Frugality, and Aim.
The Bowl is the second Guide. Like a bowl, she contains, holds, carries, remembers, and protects. She is the guardian of custom. She is humble, strong, and nurturing. She embodies the Four Qualities of the Bowl Way: Respect, Carefulness, Cleanliness, and Quiet.
The Traveler is the perception of life imagined as a journey. The Road is the series of events experienced by the Traveler as he explores an imaginary desert.
The People have the collective role of social relationships, family, community, mob, and individuality within the context of a group.