Nova Melancholia presents a double bill consisting of SEBASTIAN and VANITAS, two distinct yet complementary acts both brimming with references to art and cinematic history. Two performances poking camp fun at death.
The performance is the grand sum of its cultural references. Delving into the tradition of Saint Sebastians’ martyrdom, as recast through its dense representation in Western art from early Renaissance onwards, we focus on concepts / senses / symbols resonating with our own sensibilities and imaginary. Sebastian is a multiprismatic archetype, a kaleidoscope, an avatar of moods and desires. We read poems, recreate paintings, mince, pose, sing, dance, and draw inspiration from an eccentric cinematic tradition of experimentation. We are interested in exploring those affective and bodily practices which will enable us to relate to a symbol like Sebastian in the present.
Saint Sebastian is associated with youth, beauty, sports, archery, physical pain, salacity, homoeroticism and martyrdom. Already since medieval times, there is a strong connotation linking him to the Plague, Black Death. We tie together the tradition of homoeroticism as expressed through the figure of Sebastian and the AIDS disease, which, in the 80s and 90s, came to be regarded as a kind of ‘homosexual plague’. Just like people did in early European modernity, we too resort to Saint Sebastian, assigning him with an apotropaic function to help us ward off evil. The show is dedicated to those who dare cross over from vision to lived experience, from representation to presence, thus taking the risk of being consumed by the blazes of existence.
* The performance includes poems and texts by: Andreas Angelakis, Jean Cocteau, Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet, Bernard-Marie Koltès, Zak Kostopoulos, Yukio Mishima, Alexis Bistikas, Frank O'Hara, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Derek Jarman, Georg Trakl, Nikos Alexis Aslanoglou, Dinos Christianopoulos, Tennessee Williams
* The projections are excerpts from films by: Jean Genet, Andy Warhol, Alexis Bistica, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Paul Schrader, Jean Cocteau, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergei Parajanov, Jack Smith, Derek Jarman, Kenneth Anger, John Walters
* We would like to thank Nadja Argyropoulou for our inspiring conversation
Concept, coordination: Vassilis Noulas and Kostas Tzimoulis
Director: Vassilis Noulas
Set design & costumes: Kostas Tzimoulis
Assistant director: Elisavet Xanthopoulou
Photos: Maria Toultsa
Performers: Haris Doumouras, Christina Karagianni, Pierre Magendie, Nikos Ntasis, Christina Reinhardt
A Nova Melancholia production © 2023
With the support of the Ministry of Culture and Sports
"The language of theatre is not 'natural'. We have to create it over and over again (says Roland Barth). And we are indeed so rarely given the opportunity to watch a group of people constructing their own language in front of us! Piece by piece, this precious pastiche called SEBASTIAN is moulded in Nova Melancholia's performance."
Louiza Arkoumanea (theater critic) - Lifo 04-06-2023
SEBASTIAN is the most beautiful - so to speak - and thoughtful and elaborate performance I have seen in recent years, with a language that connects references and personal emotions and metaphors from art and experiences without pretension, in a way that is honest and effortless and ultimately redemptive.
Argyro Bozoni (art journalist) - fb 17-06-2023