An original rendition of Georges Bataille’s short piece of erotic prose "The Dead Man" staged by the contemporary theatre and performance collective Nova Melancholia.
‘When Edward fell back dead, an emptiness opened inside her, a prolonged shudder went through her, and bore her upward like an angel. Her bare breasts stiffened: an ominous shudder bore her into the fantastic church where exhaustion, silence and the feeling of the irremediable finished her.’
This is the first collaboration between Nova Melancholia collective with the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens, in the context of the Hypnos Project. Nova Melancholia gives its own interpretation of Georges Bataille’s short piece of erotic prose The Dead Man, written during World War II.
Edward, Marie’s beloved, is dead. Marie spends a night of delirium – as if in a dream – and dies at dawn. The performance begins with the image of a woman lying naked on the cold floor. Next to her body begins a long line of excreta. At the back of the space, high up, a man is smoking silently in semi-darkness. Music is heard from a radio. Soldiers, ghosts, young men sexually aroused, and a deformed dwarf march around. Marie stares – her body apertures wide open. She surrenders herself to excess and ecstasy: naked, sweating from horror, sleeping, and dreaming. Her dream is ridiculous and indecent. The entire night Marie tries to reach death.
Performers: Vicky Kyriakoulakou, Alexia Sarantopoulou, Despoina Chatzipavlidou, Vassilis Noulas, Kostas Tzimoulis
Directed by: Vassilis Noulas
Visual Arts Curator: Kostas Tzimoulis
Assistant Director: Elisavet Xanthopoulou
Photographs: Yiannis Priftis, Elena Sarantopoulou, Eirini Aggelidi
Production: Onassis Culture Centre - Athens
Nova Melancholia uses the Greek translation of Georges Bataille’s The Dead Man by Aggeliki Petra for Agra Publications, Athens.
The performance includes a poem by Miltos Sachtouris ‘Maria’, set to music by Vassilis Noulas. Maria is part of Sachtouris’ collection of poems The Spectres or Joy on the Other Street (Athens: Kedros, 1958).
Galaxia & Sfiggos Str., Neos Kosmos
May 2016 | premiere: Saturday 7 May 2016, at 21:00
Duration: 70 minutes
"The usual question arising in these cases is whether the staged performance has something to do with Bataille’s world. Whether the audacities of the performance –and there are many- are being justified. Whether a text which has become a legend and seems inappropriate for theatrical representation falls into place once staged. My answer to all these is YES. Good for Nova Melancholia who flirted with the extreme and succeeded."
Giorgos Voudiklaris (journalist, theater critic - fb 9-5-2016)
"The Dead Man is a limit (at present at least, I imagine) for our theatrical stage. Everything is there, revolting and disgusting. […] Bataille wants hell to become paradise. Nova Melancholia’s performance turns the hideous into noble, makes the filth clean. Sacrifice gives birth to new life."
Grigoris Ioannidis (Prof. Univ. of Athens, theater critic - efsyn)
"Elements of disordered state, yet pointedly targeted as far as their efficiency, lead the performance to convert the mourning into sexual transcendence and, finally, transgression. The showers at the rear of the stage function as occasional purificators of the bodies. The three actresses, impressively liberated on stage, literarily offer their bodies to the torture imposed by the text."
Dimitris Tsatsoulis (Prof. Univ. of Patras, theater critic - imerodromos)
25.5.2016 - POPAGANDA.GR
"What Kind of Forms Can Catharsis Take?" [gr]
by Lina Rokou
25.5.2016 - IMERODROMOS.GR
"Maria All Naked is Mourning" [gr]
Review by Dimitris Tsatsoulis, Professor of Theatre Studies, University of Patras
30.5.2016 - EFSYN
"Provocation in the style of Fabre" [gr]
Review by Grigoris Ioannidis, Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, University of Athens