freely adapted from Eurypides' "Alkestis" and Orphic myths.
tragi-comedy is a story of a wife who sacrified her own life to save her
husband and then
Our version considerably differs from the original. The message of Eurypides' play is ambiguous. Alkestis, the only tragic character seems to be childishly ingenuous. Admet, her husband, is a morally doubtful figure - selfish and opportunist, having none merit in the final happy resolution. Both myth an rite are derided and subverted.
For obvious therapeutic reasons we needed a reinterpretation more
positive and perhaps somehow naive. Our "Alkestis" is the story of a man
who, thanks to love, is able to overcome his weakness.
"Alkestis" - the cremation of Alkestis [Duisburg - May 1998]
Death caught Admet - the protagonist - at the very top of enjoying life. But, in the past, Admet's piety gained him Apollo's favour and the privilege of sending a substitute to the underworld. He just had to be a volunteer. However when Thanatos calls him, Admet asks in vain, among friends and kinsmen - including his own parents - for somebody accepting to die instead of him. At the extremity, only his wife Alkestis - mother of his newly born child - is ready to sacrifice her life for him. Alone in the face of death, seized with an animal terror, Admet grasps at this last chance of salvation. After having been the impotent witness of his wife's agony and death, although freed of fear and alive, Admet realises that his precious life became hopelessly empty and devoid of sense. This experience unveils him the real value of love. Fortunately repented of his pusillanimity, with Apollo's help, he can redeem his fault, descend to the realm of Death, defeat Thanatos and bring Alkestis back to life.
This last motif - borrowed from the Orphic tradition - is totally strange both to the myth of Alkestis and to Eurypides' play. Thus we wanted to enhance love as main reason of all acts - Alkestis' heroism, Admet's ripening crowned with his descent to the limbo. That way we also emphasised his emotional evolution and his decisive part in Alkestis' resurrection.
(Eurypides is bitterer and more realistic. His characters are mainly ruled by their social obligations - devotion, conjugal duties, hospitality. Alkestis incarnates the perfect spouse: obedient, dutiful and sacrificed - even dying she cares about her household! Admet cares mostly for his reputation, and public opinion. To entertain a guest is more important than the impositions of mourning. And he is rewarded for that, as Herakles - absent of our performance - moved by Admet's hospitality above all, recovers for him his lost wife.)
Another fundamental difference lays in enhancing the dying theme. (In Greek tragedy all drastic events occur behind the scenes and spectators learn them only through witnesses - usually messengers or servants.)
Desirous of measuring ourselves with one of the greatest taboos of our culture; which is also very often present
as component of mental disorders - Death - we have shown it on stage, making dying and the linked to ritual the main axis of our performance
2. The impotence of the healers/Alkestis' farewell
3. Washing and dressing the corpse
5. The funeral
6. Thanatos coming to seek Alkestis' soul
7. The condolences
8. In the realm of Death-fight with Thanatos
2.Dance of Tanatos and Alkestis [performance'99]
4.Washing and dressing the corpse.[performance'99]
5.Querell with the father. [rehearsal'01]
8. Admet's drunkenness.[performance'00]
9. Admet's desperation[rehearsal'01]