Performance Conceived by – Choreographed & Directed by: Sara Pearson & Patrik Widrig – PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER
Dancers from the PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER: Angad Kalsi, Tzveta Kassabova, Stephanie Miracle & Connor Voss & trainees Nneka Onyima & Ryan Smith
Students of the University of Maryland: Shekinah Brown, Charlene Cowan, Charlotte Macko, Layla Nordrum & Brian Wilson
Sound design – Music for the performance: Sam Crawford
Poem composed by: Shekinah Brown, Sara Pearson
Poem interpreted by: Shekinah Brown, Stella Rizou
Music for the light show: Stavros Gasparatos
Design for the video & light show: Eleftheria Deko
Costume design: Nefeli Myrtidi
Costume construction: Margarita Pantiora, Atelier Tsiouni
Assistant for the lighting installations: Vasiliki Gogou
Assistants: Athanasia Lazou, Afroditi Neri
Technical support – Sound & Light installation: Kariotis Audio & Lighting
Construction – Installation of lighting: LightsOn
Organisation – Production: DIADROMES POLITISMOU
Project coordination: Isavella Dimitra Karouti – Head of General Artistic Directorate Support 2023 Eleusis
A production by 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture
Dates: Friday 7 & Saturday 8 July Time: 21.30 Venue: VLYCHA – Ship Graveyard [Access to Vlycha will be carried out exclusively by buses from the Old Olive Mill Parking to Vlycha]
Tickets: General admission €5
Ticket presale here.
From 1 to 8 July 2023, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents Mystery 89 Elefsina by Night, an artwork conceived by globally renowned and multiple award-winning lighting designer Eleftheria Deko, that draws inspiration from the myth of Persephone, renegotiating and subverting it.
Six lighting installations gradually revealed in various parts of the city, a journey that is completed on 7 and 8 July with the worldwide premiere of the site-specific performance Persephone Reconsiders Her Fate by Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, artistic co-directors of the legendary PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER (PWDT), at the unique venue of VLYCHA − Ship Graveyard. A nocturnal promenade that takes pause to illuminate – sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes lightheartedly – the past, the present, the myth, the history of the city, the history of each of us.
In Greek mythology, Persephone is also called Kore [Daughter]. The daughter that Hades stole and hid in his arms for six months. Iris is the goddess of the colourful rainbow, the herald who carried the messages of the gods to the people. The ancient Greeks chose to give the names of these two deities to the eye, the sensory organ of vision. And not by chance… It is the pupil [kore] of the eye that absorbs light, while the round iris reflects it in colourful hues. As Hades hides Kore-Persephone in his arms, Iris loses her colours. And when Persephone escapes from his arms to rejoin Mother Earth, Iris illuminates her welcome with six colours, as many as the months of her sojourn in the upper world.
Six light rings over the city of Elefsina
Iris leaves behind six light rings on her path, to symbolise her marriage with life, the path to eternity, fulfilment, the union with our deepest self, the world, time itself. The day of rebirth is Saturday 1 July, and the starting point of this ceremony is the furnace of the IRIS Factory. It is there that the first ring will be illuminated, the red one, in the colour of living blood and fire, the colour of pulsating senses. Continuing her course, on 2 July, Iris paints Marie Curie square in orange, a colour similar to that of fire and flame. On the night of 3 July, she leaves her yellow ring at the abandoned industrial building of the Old Oil Mill Factory, praising the sun, the light, the spreading of knowledge and hope. On 4 July, she walks silently on Iroon Square, dressed in green, leaving her four rings to remind us of vegetation as well as the paleness of imminent death, the union of life and death. On 5 July, she will stand at the seaside, in front of the entrance to the Old Oil Mill Factory, in front of her blue ring, as if ready for a journey in the stormy seas under the starry dome. 6 July, a day of rest and preparation for a meeting with Kore. The terminal station of her course is VLYCHA − Ship Graveyard, where the violet ring will sink into the sea. Everything evokes the fertilised and wet earth she leaves behind. The six colours of Iris, which proudly accompanied Kore during the six months of her journey in the upper world, fall silent…
Dance performancePersephone Reconsiders Her Fate
Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig, artistic co-directors of the legendary PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER (PWDT), famous for their “provocatively subversive, engaging, ironic and deeply moving” work and their site-specific installations around the world, choreographed and directed exclusively for Mystery 89 Elefsina by Night the performance Persephone Reconsiders Her Fate, which will make its worldwide premiere at VLYCHA – Ship Graveyard on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 July.
Throughout the dance performance that is accompanied by an impressive light show, Kore-Persephone reintroduces herself to reveal all her aspects before she is immersed into the kingdom of dead ships, before she travels to the amorphous seas of the unconscious and is reborn in Mother Earth, gifting us her wisdom, knowledge and harmony.
This project was made possible in part with funding from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International, a program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Major financial support was provided by the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies’ International Program for Creative Collaboration and Research, the Madden Professorship and the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance, as well as the Friends of PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER.
The second axis focuses on the Environment, sustainability and wellbeing, seeking new ways to take ownership of the city, and focusing on the need to redefine our relationship with nature and the environment as a prerequisite for sustainable development. The thematic axis Environment comprises the three themes/notions of “Demeter-Mother Earth”, “Persephone” and “Ecoculture Festival”, corresponding to significant features of the relationship between human beings and the environment.
With 12 premieres of documentary films, inspired by Eleusis and the surrounding areas and with important collaborations from the film industry, the 1st IN SITU REALITIES – Eleusis Documentary Festival is inaugurated, a legacy project of 2023 Eleusis.
From December 15 to February 11, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents Mystery 87 I My Sea Journey, I My Land Claim, the new sculpture installation by the acclaimed visual artist Stefania Strouza honoured with this year’s Art Athina Prize for young artists.
From 17 December 2023 to 11 February 2024, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture inaugurates a new era for the renovated IRIS factory with Mystery 111 Eleusis Terracotta Army by international artist Juan Esteban Sandoval. An exhibition as a tribute to the people who work in Elefsina and the broader West Attica region, a huge collective portrait that was made to represent the people who have forged with their work, their physical toil and their lives the current image of the place where they live. The exhibition will open on Sunday 17 December, during the closing ceremony of 2023 Eleusis, Mystery 1 Closing : Opening | A ceremony.