An overpainting of Antigone’s ancient myth, “Traces of Antigone”, came as an immediate response to the coronavirus global lock downs and the ongoing dialogue on what presence (and absence) is all about. For the first time in recent history, seclusion is no longer a feminine condition. This marked a good time to move out of our safety zone and explore in a circle of women a completely new performative language that we have come to call: “Theatre of Seclusion”.
Written by Christina Ouzounidis
Concept & Art Direction: Elli Papakonstantinou
Translation into Greek: Margarita Mellberg
Translation into English: G.Carbone/E.Papakonstantinou/ E.Dermitzaki
Music Composition: Nalyssa Green, Katerina Papachristou
Visual Art Advisor:Mary Zygouri
Movement direction: Valia Papachristou
Nalyssa Green (vocals / keyboard)
Gemma Hansson Carbone
Katerina Papachristou (vocals/ keyboard/ bass)
Assistant to the Director A: Ero Lefa
Assistant to the Director B: Charikleia Petraki
Technical Director A: Eirini Dermitzaki
Technical Director B: Korina Kotsiri
Photography: FLP Athens, Sophia Manoli
– DIGITAL VERSION
Feather Dusting/Future Lusting (UK) 24-26.06.20
Electric Dreams Online Festival (UK/AU) 27-28-30.07.2020
Homografia, Brussels (BE) October 2020
Eye’s Walk Festival (GR) TBA
– PHYSICAL VERSION
Romaeuropa Festival (IT) 13 & 14.10.2020
Città Delle 100 Scale Festival(IT) 19.10.2020
Swedish Biennial for Performing Arts (SE) TBA
Times Square Projects, NY (USA) TBA
Nominated for Italian Online theatre Critics & Reviewers Award of the year.
Produced by ODC Ensemble
With the Support of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports | Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) | Embassy of Sweden in Athens
Under the auspices of Club for Unesco Piraeus and Islands | Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality
We, women of different ages and artistic backgrounds, have joined voices to traverse historicity of gender, reconfiguring domesticity and digital space. In our domestic confinement, we explore the vastness of the public agoras; framed in digital boxes, we remain transparent for the whole world to peep on us, yet, safe in the refuge of our innermost private space (unlike other women – victims of domestic violence).
Transparent yet mysterious; Empowered yet objectified; Private yet public; Present yet absent; Connected yet isolated; Certain yet uncertain.
This is who we are: “the Absent Girls”, in memory of all the women before us.
Theatre of Seclusion – Manifesto
[email protected] attempt the impossible
What is “theatre of seclusion”?
It is a live-streamed performance developed, designed and executed in seclusion in the many different homes of the artists, who join forces to create one unique audiovisual experience, a cinematic concert in synchronicity.
“Theatre of Seclusion” comes with a set of rules and restrictions: 1. We rehearse, develop and execute the whole piece in quarantine with the help of digital platforms. 2. We are allowed to use only the props, musical instruments, set environment, costumes and technical means found in our homes when quarantined; no add-ons later on! Our home is the set. Public space and home space merge into one. The tagged names on our windows name us and reconfigure anonymity and objectification. 3. We work in seclusion from our homes like women before us. Are we trapped, safe or emancipated? It is up to our viewers to tell, as we grand them permission to invade our most intimate worlds. Zoom into details, zoom out to the galaxies. 4. We all use the same basic technology to weave this new-age audiovisual embroidering in synchronicity. 5. We invite viewers to interact with the performance, and thus be propelled to the public agora.
DIRECTOR ’S NOTE
“I had just started rehearsing for a physical performance of the “Traces of Antigone” when the lockdown came. I decided to keep on working with the help of technology and so we met on a daily basis thinking that the lockdown wouldn’t last long and that we would soon go back to physical.
I soon realized that the containment of the performers’ bodies in the digital windows, was in direct dialogue with the theme of the piece, the canonization of gender identity, womanhood and domesticity. My objective here is to explore a new aesthetic language using means that I hadn’t used before and regenerate a new format that supports the live and ephemeral nature of theatre art.” Elli Papakonstantinou
“Our sincere congratulations! Amazone nominated the ODC Ensemble as the “laureate hors catégorie” for the “Traces of Antigone” The curators, Els De Vos (University of Antwerp) and Hermès Roland (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and the director of “Amazone Awards” were so impressed by the concept, the content and the esthetic quality of “Traces of Antigone”, that they even decided to create a special nomination.”
The Award Jury Committee
“I loved that piece and am most grateful to you for bringing it into English and other languages. It is socially powerful and wonderfully experimental. It moved me and allowed me to feel most grateful for feminist art projects that link our rage with solidarity. A million thanks!”
Judith Butler, writer of Double Gender, Precarious Life, Bodies That Matter, Undoing Gender and more
“It’s great to watch a Zoom show that actually looks good. This a serious and often exciting exploration of the uncertain world in which young women live; it’s full of stunning images, the result of careful, classy work by a great company.”
Mark Courtice, theatre critic, ReviewsGate
“It blew my mind – Elli has figured out a way to make theater on zoom, complete with music which is sometimes foreground and sometimes background. I found this performance gripping. Be forewarned – it’s about sexual violence towards women, aka Antigone… I never imagined this as possible. Congratulations – I think you’re inventing a new art form!”
Sara Jobin, conductor and art director of the Center for Contemporary Opera, NY, US
“These days, what is touching, for me, it’s to see how theatre, again and again, is able to reinvent itself, and your performance is the proof of it. I think that flexibility is a form of beautiness and your flexibility has generated Beauty. […] I really enjoyed the vision, especially for the atmosphere you create that is mesmerizing. I like how you reinvented spaces and objects, making me forget where you all were (and we all were!), that’s to say in our private houses. You are able to create another space, like theatre always does. Moreover, the pace/rhythm changes make me feel involved all the time.”
Lucia Franchi, director of Kilowatt Festival and CapoTrave company
“Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to watch your interesting work! I watched the rehearsal through a special condition of lack of sleep and the loss of a friend. As I move away from that night, the images and words become stronger instead of fading. The strange thing is that they have already been placed in a special space-time that did not exist before. And when I want to, it’s very easy for me to recall them. I think this new dimension is very worthwhile. It makes me happy. Thanks again!”
Polly Vlachou, artist and documentarist
“So intense and suggestive. It’s like a weird hotel! And I would love to stay there.
You created a magical and mystical universe.”
Christina Ouzounidis, playwright
“You are breaking open some walls, my dear! Respect! Pipilotti Rist comes to me. Bright colours, close-ups!”
Mieke Renders, director of Trans Europe Halles Network, Sweden
“Even though it is a time-synchronous performance, it is a different beast than live performance in a full sense of the word. The entire project is very timely, and it offers a take on this whole situation that is sorely missing from the public discourse, at least here in the US.”
Prof. Branislav Jakovljevic, Department of Theater and Performance Studies, Stanford University, USA
“Great queer show on the internet. A real tour de force by Elli Papakonstantinou who reshapes her means of expression for Christina Ouzounidou’s Antigone […] The great reward of incorporeal transformations. That high art could emerge through a general rehearsal of a work on Zoom, that the decomposition of a play into a logic of fragmentation could function as pure theater, only Deleuze could predict (in Logic of sensation, 4.32). And only a creator of Elli Papakonstantinou’s caliber could imagine and invent it. Antigone, like a little girl who keeps all her options open, does not go down to the grave, but rises to the virtual horizon of freedom and autonomy. It was night in Pelion and I hoped for this great rehearsal to never end… For me, one of the top performances of the year, including the ones performed on stage before the coronavirus. Bliss!”
Chloe Kolyri, psychoanalyst
“That was extraordinary. A fascinating visual kaleidoscope and a very compelling examination of female identity. Bravo!”
Douglas Kennedy, writer of the international bestsellers The Big Picture, The Pursuit of Happiness, Leaving the World and more; ex director of the Peacock Theatre in London UK
“I thought the show was extraordinary. Much the most dynamic and “live” use I’ve seen of the Zoom medium so far. I do think we’ve got to look for new ways of generating theatrical intimacy and solidarity that go beyond spacing out conventional auditoria or sticking old shows on YouTube…”
Michael Walling, UK, theatre director, academic and artistic director of Border Crossings
“I don’t know how to thank you. I was immersed in a very intense experience; you managed to get into the woman and gender themes by abandoning all stereotypes and any form of conditioning to get to the deep sense of the human being beyond gender, digging into the language that defines us but at the same time can also destroy us, if used without intelligence. […] Technically I think it is a really complex work, you have done an incredible job pushing the potential that the video has made available to you with sensitivity and intelligence, without being crushed by the medium but looking for a new one!”
Tamara Malleo, journalist, Teatromania – Telelombardia, Italy