ELLI PAPAKONSTANTINOU / ODC ENSEMBLE (Athens, Greece): Traces of Antigone

  • watch: 29th June2020 at 4:30pm UTC
  • duration: 65 min *POSTPONED

Following her last creation “Oedipus: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” presented at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) New York City which received raving reviews (included in the Observer‘s and the OperaWIRE‘s must-see list), the unconventional director Elli Papakonstantinou walks off the beaten path. This time, to create a new interactive digital performance: a new way to direct, produce and promote theatre. The SOLD OUT performance “Τraces of Antigone”, written by the acclaimed contemporary swedish playwright Christina Ouzounidis, is a digital online cinematic concert in English, Greek and Swedish with the participation of an international cast of performers. The show that received raving reviews from viewers from all around the globe, is designed specifically for the ZOOM platform used here as an alternative “stage”. “Traces of Antigone”, an overpainting of Antigone’s ancient myth, 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 for the company ODC Ensemble to move out of its safety zone and explore in a circle of women a completely new performative language that we have come to call: “theatre of seclusion”. What is “theatre of seclusion”? [© Elli Papakonstantinou/ODC Ensemble, 28 March 2020, Athens, All rights reserved] 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 make use only of the props, musical instruments, set environment, costumes and technical means that were made available to us when quarantined; no add-ons later on! Our home is the set. 3-Public space and home space merge into one. The tagged names on our windows name us and reconfigure anonymity and objectification, always already “singular-plural”, in the elsewhere and otherwise 4-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 grant them permission to invade our most intimate world. Zoom in to details, zoom out to the galaxies. 5-We all use the same basic technology to weave in synchronicity this new age audiovisual embroidering. 6-We invite viewers to interact with the performance, thus propelled to the public agora. Observe: this is a LIVE performance! Not recorded! DIRECTOR ’S NOTE: Theatre is an art form that requires physical presence – we all know that well. I had just started rehearsing for “Traces of Antigone” when the quarantine started. We decided to keep on working with the help of technology and we kept meeting on a daily basis. As a director, I was stunned when I realized that the containment of the physical bodies in digital windows, opened a direct dialogue with the theme of the piece, which is the entrapment in gender identity and the relation of womanhood and domesticity. I began to experiment with the new tools of Zoom platform which, as I discovered, provided some aesthetic challenges and a new aesthetic language. Therefore, the shift of a part of our activities to the internet was not the only reason for this concept. My objective here is to create a whole new aesthetic language using means that we hadn’t experimented with before thinking that theatre is regenerated by any dramaturgical approach that supports its live and ephemeral nature. Elli Papakonstantinou

BIO: ODC (Odyssey) Ensemble is an award-winning theatre company based in Athens, Greece, established by theatre director Elli Papakonstantinou. Some of the distinctions ODC has honoured with are winning the Music Theatre NOW international competition 2018-19 edition (International Theatre Institute in cooperation with ITI worldwide and ITI Germany – Operadagen Rotterdam), Prototype Festival (New York), NOA Festival (Vilnius), Beijing Music Festival and Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival ACT, First Award Prize at the BE Festival for the REP 2017, Birmingham – UK, First Prize Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. ODC’s artistic director, Elli Papakonstantinou, has been honoured twice with a Fulbright Award. ODC creates multidisciplinary performances that empower critical thinking with an emphasis on cutting edge music, new media and political discourse. ARTIST’S WEBSITE