Choreographing Euripides to music of Michael Nyman

«It was madness at the spur of the moment, and you know what I’m like,» said choreographer Sofia Spyratou on the phone. She was talking about her latest dance theater accomplishment, a performance on which she worked with composer Michael Nyman, and she sounds as if time hasn’t touched her at all. It is her talent, passion and unique craziness that has enabled her to build a landmark venue for modern dance in Greece, despite all the difficulties. Her Roes Theater has hosted performances by almost all of today’s Greek dancers and choreographers, shows with live, original music and new productions, even at a time when the Ministry of Culture has chosen to ignore her for no reason. In spite of it all, she has continued on, unperturbed. This year, Spyratou decided to tackle one of her favorite topics, which she said has been haunting her, Euripides’ «Electra.» She titled her production «Electra Instigator» and adorned it in the music of Michael Nyman, who gave her full access to all his archives and even wrote three pieces especially for the show. «Electra Instigator» opened at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street annex yesterday and is scheduled to run to April 19. «I was interested in mixing different elements, in balancing different means of expression, meaning dance, music and recitation. I didn’t want the performance to differ much from the ancient tragedy, I wanted it to have everything. So there is pure dance, but there are also monologues. The dancers talk, the actors dance, but the music always prevails,» said Spyratou by phone to Kathimerini. «Electra Instigator» is a study on the complex relations of power, passion and hate that develop between Orestes, his mother Clytemnestra and his sister Electra. The performance captures the myth’s main themes and has them enacted on a white, bare set which could be any place, any time. «Electra is an instigator but attempts suicide at the same time. She kills her mother and that cannot be forgiven. Both Electra and Orestes plunge into chaos after the murder. This work can be applied to all periods of time; it is about that love-hate relationships that all families have. It is a tough topic.» In «Electra Instigator,» Spyratou made use of Euripides’ choral pieces but also the poetry of Stratis Paschalis, which has been written especially for the performance. She was very enthusiastic about her work with Nyman. «When I sent him an e-mail asking him to collaborate, I did not expect an answer. To my great surprise, he responded and we embarked upon this amazing collaboration, it was a real dialogue. That proves that we have to go after what we want.» The production features Evi Hadzaki, Danilo Zeka, Lia Tsolaki, Xenia Themeli, Stavroula Kontopoulou and others. Benaki Museum Pireos Street Annex, 138 Pireos & Andronikou, tel 210.345.3111 and 210.347.9426. Performances start at 9.15 p.m.

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