The Bacchae

Director: Tomasz Rodowicz
Choreography: Robert M. Hayden
Music: Tomasz Krzyżanowski
Light: Tomasz Krukowski
Sound: Marcin Dobijański
Cast: Joanna Chmielecka, Julia Jakubowska, Majka Justyna / Sara Kozłowska, Małgorzata Lipczyńska, Janusz Adam Biedrzycki, Paweł Korbus, Maciej Maciaszek, Adrian Bartczak / Michał Ratajski
Choir: Joanna Filarska, Sandra Gierzek, Joanna Kłos, Aleksandra Kozioł, Milena Kranik, Justyna Sobieraj-Bednarek, Marta Sterna, Elina Toneva, Paula Tralewska, Dara Weinberg, Tomasz Krzyżanowski
Premiere: 26.03.2012, Szwalnia Theatre, Lodz

Watch the trailer

“The Bacchae”, directed by Tomasz Rodowicz, constitutes the third and final phase of facing Euripides’ most intriguing drama. It is also an attempt to retell this ambiguous play while using a different approach than the one employed in previous projects.

One of the contributors is the American dancer, choreographer and Musician Robert M. Hayden (long-running Ultima Vez collaborator; he also worked on choreography for CHOREA’s Oratorium Dance Project)

Chorea’s first attempt at “The Bacchae” resulted in the “Bakkus” stage play – an international production which was performed in 2006 in cooperation with Earthfall. This was a story about the conflict between law and religion, a warning against fanaticism on the one hand and the abuses of power on the other, a cautionary tale about the crisis of values and the terror of collective responsibility.

The second part – the “Śpiew Eurypidesa” (“Songs of Euripides”) stage play was a tale about collective madness and a warning against dangerous and bigotry-ridden practices. In a collective rapture, a group of women emerges form the choir and reaches for that which is the most intimate and carefully hidden in every individual, but which can also become threatening and lead to murder in a devotional ecstasy – both now and 2.5 thousand years ago. The songs activate dark emotions – energies which, in the presence of the half-god, half-man Dionysus, provoke a degraded ritual– an ambiguous celebration crowned with on a lynch on “the other one” who dares to transgress the social taboos.

“The Bacchae” is a confrontation of these two themes, relating these tensions to modern interpersonal relations. Modern society constitutes a group which is quick to define collective responsibility. With the fading presence of any understanding of a god, which is being replaced by false idols, it is easy to claim omniscience and omnipotence. It is easy to manipulate the emotions of others. Faced with the decay of values, religions and authorities, destruction and aggression towards others become the means of self-definition. In our culture, the necessity of cleansing through a sacrifice has been reduced to acts of scapegoating. Every single one of us feels a simultaneous need for order and chaos, for madness and harmony. Why are we the only species which engages in the slaughter of its own kind while longing deeply for love and the presence of a god?

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