new creation Commissioned bythe Festival der Regionen 2019 Credits Concept + Libretto + Direction: Elli PapakonstantinouMusical Composition: Blaine L. ReiningerPerformers: Rosa Prodromoui, Blaine L. Reininger and a choir of elderly men from the vicinities of MauthausenArt Direction: Craig DogovskiLighting Design: Zois Loumakis Performances Festival der Regionen 2019: 29.06-02.07.2019Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial, Austria Extract from “Die …
Type: Hybrid Performance
Oedipus: Sex with Mum was Blinding is a hybrid opera libretto and direction by Elli Papakonstantinou, music composion by Julia Kent and Tilemachos Mousas. The piece draws from cognitive science and the myth of “Oedipus Rex” and was developed during the director’s visit at CCRMA. Originally designed for a cast of seven, this is an abbreviated version featuring a mix of live actors that are folded into an array of surreal cinematic environments. Through a series of scientific experiments, audience engagement plays an essential role in the execution of the piece. Atonal, electroacoustic compositions weave throughout the opera while Grammy nominee, Julia Kent, performs cello on stage in a constant stream of visuals and live action. A full production of the piece will take place in Athens at the Old National Opera House in September 2019 with the participation of cognitive scientists from the Warburg Institute, University of London.
Expected premiere: 4th April 2019, Stanford University, USA
Immersive and site-specific performance on gaming and tax paradises, held at the majestic Notre Dame Gate in Birgu. This game-like performance will transform the near 400 year old building into a dark and beautiful maze, to open up a myriad of possibilities conjured by real-time video, live music, Baroque choir and robotics. The die is cast, the card is drawn.
A new opera for four voices, santoor, piano & live electronics. Conceived and directed by Elli Papakonstantinou, this international co-production investigates parallels between today’s virtual reality world, fake news and Plato’s allegory of the Cave.
The Cave is a cyber punk opera on a popular theme Matrix. An oratorical opera in the intersection between opera, cinema and new technologies, this radical performance calls for critical reflection on fake news and post truth. It’s a contemporary reinterpretation of Plato’s famous “Cave” allegory. Shadow puppetry, new media, visuals and music are all performed in real time by a cast of four. Nothing is ever still. The Cave challenges the boundaries of contemporary opera, drawing from a variety of music genres. In the intersection of reality and fantasy, material & immaterial, with an emphasis on the exploration of self-truth. The staged transcription of the philosophical text is interwoven with intertextual adds – Buddhist sutras, hyperrealistic conversations etc.- and pinholes onto today’s world. Socrates is a robot’s voice and this sarcasm runs through out the piece. while mythological creatures pass as shadows of another world all too close to ours; In Plato’s allegory people are chained in a cave and they are facing the inside of the cave whereupon they see the shadows of the outside world. In so doing, they interpret “reality” through this optic of the shadows. The cave brings out how the two-dimensional vision of the three-dimensional life translates in today’s realities in misconceptions that we may have regarding what’s going on as for example in the domains of politics, of society and of course ethics.
Louisette (the title comes from Marat’s pet word for the guillotine), invites viewers to enter the making of a film on the theme of bourgeois democracy and the French revolution. However, during shoot breaks, something is amiss. How do contemporary individuals relate to the tripartite motto “liberty, equality, fraternity”?
The performance drew on texts by Jean-Paul Marat, Heiner Müller, Guy Debord, Raoul Vaneigem, Nikos Gatsos, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mary Oliver, Victor Hugo, Maximilien Robespierre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpts from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) and contemporaneous legal texts and Travis Stout’s videogame Assasin’s Creed: Unity. It also drew on texts composed during improvisation with the students of special abilities from the special vocational high school of Eleusis. The latter are the true protagonists of this production, working closely together with actors, musicians, and visual artists. This performance of ambulatory theatre, a co-production of the Athens festival and the Eleusis 2021 European capital of culture, is the end product of a fruitful collaboration between the ODC Ensemble and the students of the Special vocational high School of Eleusis and is part of the Europe Grand central project.
What is a performance salon?
SALON HAPPINESS UNLTD: AARHUS-ATHENS is interactive performance art, feel-good lounge music and sense titillating taste bombs sending the happiness barometer through the roof!
All spiced up with elements from a Greek thinker, a happiness philosopher, a gastronomic geek and a brain researcher – each giving their take on what happiness can be.
According to UNESCO’s («The World Happiness Report”) the Danes are among the most happy people on the planet, while the Greeks are the most unhappy.
Happiness Unlimited was first presented in Aarhus, Denmark and consequently it was presented at the Benaki Musem in the frame of the exhibition [OUT] TOPIAS (curator Thanos Vovolis). A full scale performance was presented at Bora-Bora Theatre in Aarhus, Denmark in 2018.
Commissioned by Prague Quadrennial 17 (PQ17)
Exploring audience as an active entity, this project aims to engage passers-by/citizens by collecting their views on notions of revolution today and by creating an in-situ public participatory performance that balances between a pre-structured piece and documentation.
This public art piece is in dialogue with the performance “META” as it aims to investigate the idea of “ending” as a transitory phase of both destruction and growth, exploring how the notion of revolution today reflects in all matters private or public.
Award-winning REVOLT ATHENΣ relates criticism and poetry avoiding radical “in-your-face” political discourse. Rejecting the flat, washed out image οf Greece’s capital, this is an Athens that’s bursting with life. In REVOLT ATHENΣ, the three-piece, politically-minded cast offer insights into post-crisis Greece. In ODC Ensemble’s unique city guide, activist communities are framed in terms of Greece’s wider history; intertwined with figures of Greek mythology, there are tear gas-choked riots against government austerity cutbacks. Combining actors, video footage and music, it’s a multi-faceted window into the living and breathing reality of a place.
REVOLT ATHENΣ is still on tour
First Prize Award for the REP, Birmingham at the BE Festival 2017
Presented for the European Parliament for Culture in 2017
Inspired by the authoritarian state “Leviathan” by T. Hobbes, this is an immersive site-specific performance, structured as a triptych in three different areas of Vyrsodepseio.
In a tannery, the workers came into contact with the skin of animals, offal, germs, blood and contaminated water. The idea of cleansing is a key thread of the dramatic fabric of the show and, with appropriate textual support, the space is used not only as a literal place (as a performance space), but also as a metaphorical space (as a tannery “purgatory”).
Skin is a celebration, a “tribute” to the mechanistic work, monotony and apathy. A poetic metaphor for the current state of Greek society into crisis and the development of a powerful authoritarian state-Leviathan.
Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck performed by a reduced international cast of five; they form a post -punk band with an operatic approach in original music score inspired by Alban Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’ to challenge the idea of the European Union. Texts in performance: Georg Büchner’s ‘Woyzeck’, a speech on ‘Economy of the housekeeping’ by Angela Merkel, Georg Büchner’s ‘The messenger of Hessen’ (Der Hessische Landbote) etc.
“META” is a hybrid site-specific performance that emerged through the creation of a network society, through an open dialogue on the role of art today and the need for parallel clusters around a common feeling: something is breaking in our society, something is getting irretrievably lost: “Let’s celebrate!” The performance deals with notions of the “end” – the relation of people to society in a moment of disaster/crisis, the end of the Big Narratives and the period after. In “META”, the simple everyday communication (through the text of the actors) runs in parallel with texts of: Makriyannis, St. John, Aristotle, Plato, Rosa Luxembourg, Roger Dadoun, Fernando Pessoa, Ernesto Sabatto, Pierre Paolo Pasolini, Thierry Paquot, Witold Gombrowicz, William Burroughs, Karl Marx, etc.
The performance was created with the contribution and participation of more than 50 citizens, activists, artists.
Based on Sylvia Plath’s radio-play “Three Women”, the cast performs in a real kitchen that is “trapped” with sensors. Live electroacoustic music composition here unfolds, interwoven dynamically in the body of the performance in real time. The performers cook throughout the show and at the end, they serve dinner and join the audience.
This is the first show of the company ODC Ensemble
“I began researching the Odyssey back in 2002. The first phase of my research (2002-2004) resulted in a series of performances presented in Greece and abroad, each of them featuring a different cast and crew. The common denominator in all these performances was the development of a contemporary rhapsodic method.
I focused on the Odyssey because I was intrigued by the fluidity and diversity of the Homeric epics and especially by the fact that in reality there is no ‘original’ text. In effect, we are talking about different versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey and more specifically about each rhapsodist trying a different take on the Iliad and the Odyssey, improvising in situ before a live audience and introducing variations even on the verses themselves.
This ‘open’ dramaturgy opens a channel to the present. Far from distancing herself from the story she tells, the narrator finds herself within two overlapping circles: the real circle of the audience, and the fictional circle of the story.
This largely improvisational performance was built upon the interplay of three bodies of work: The Odyssey, musical improvisation, and the narrator’s free association. The director spins an ad hoc dramaturgy the ‘seams’ of which are visible to the audience; the audience can then choose the Book of Odyssey they want to listen to while having dinner. This project is open to the idea of Randomness: the interplay of words and musical notes; the flow of commentary through free association; songs.
Music and speech are woven together in a single narrative. The performer’s body vibrates, pushed to unprecedented directions, forced to maximise the smallest structural unit of language—word, syllable, phoneme—going against the flow of rhythm, eschewing the production of meaning for what is left unspoken.”
[Extracts from the director’s note]
In 1999, Border Crossings collaborated with Athlon (Greece) to commission a new version of Aeschylus SUPPLIANTS from South African writer Tamantha Hammerschlag, with the support of the Arts Council. Directed by Elli Papakonstantinou, the play showed a powerful engagement with war and refugees, telling the story of the fifty daughters of Danaus who flee from persecution, only to find themselves subjected to enforced marriages. Tamntha Hammerschlag went on to develop the play further in South Africa, working with refugee women there.
Stratis Minakakis’s Musical Composition “Ta Plia” (“The Ships,” 2005) was commissioned by Princeton’s Program in Hellenic Studies on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary Concert. It is based on the homonymous prose poem by Constantine P. Cavafy, and combines post-serial influences with elements from the Greek tradition, such as heterophony and micro-intervals. Cosponsored by Princeton’s Program in Hellenic Studies and Princeton’s Department of Music.
The performance drew material directly from the workshop of the Fourth Summer Academy of the National Theatre and at the same time was the application and continuation of the operating mechanisms developed in the performances with the general title: ODC… after Homer. Main axis is the pursuit of a new narrative/storytelling operation through the Homeric”Odyssey”. During the workshop has been developed the narrative/storytelling operation in pre-theatre texts interpreted by musicians in parallel route with the actors.