The «highly acclaimed company of performance artists» of the ODC Ensemble lands in Thessaloniki with its latest “shocking” and “thought-provoking” creation, The Cave, only to be welcomed with yawns and worn-out applauses for its «contemporary and experimental art».
Η «εξαιρετικά φημισμένη ομάδα καλλιτεχνών ερμηνευτών» του ODC Ensemble προσγειώνεται στη Θεσσαλονίκη με την τελευταία “συγκλονιστική” δημιουργία της, Το Σπήλαιο, μόνο για να καλωσοριστεί με χασμουρητά και φθαρμένα χειροκροτήματα για τη «σύγχρονη και πειραματική τέχνη» της.
La «acclamatissima compagnia di performance artists» ODC Ensemble fa il suo ingresso a Salonicco con l’ultima “scioccante” e “stimolante” creazione, la Caverna, solo per essere accolta con sbadigli e applausi fiacchi a riconoscimento della sua «arte contemporanea e sperimentale».
SOCRATES: And if they can get hold of this person who takes it in hand to free them from their chains and to lead them up, and if they could kill him, will they not actually kill him?
GLAUCON: They certainly will.
Thus ends Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the dialogue between Glaucon and Socrates on the effect of education (παιδεία) and the lack of it on our nature, and thus ends also Elli Papakonstantinou’s The Cave, a «cyber punk opera» based on the philosopher’s work to throw its j’accuse on «fake news, post truth and the digital world». By drawing a parallel between the shadow world in which the chain-bound men are forced to stay and the virtual reality in which most of humanity chooses to live, the ODC Ensemble (considered to be a stronghold of Greek experimental theatre, mostly focused on the infamous economic crisis and the consequent humongous national debt) clearly states its critical reflection on the current state of things, mixing freely and bewilderingly opera, cinema, technology, Trump, Facebook and shadow puppetry, in an declared attempt to persistently dislocate the audience and relentlessly refuse their expectations.
Despite the cleverness and cognizance of aligning one of the basic texts of classical philosophy with the cognitive decadence of modernity, in this fight between phenomenology and ontology, much is lost for the sake of shocking and scandalising. Indeed, Art, when made accessible, has a unique capacity to break down boundaries and encourage social interaction, bring purpose and change atmosphere. In this rendering of The Cave, however, the postmodern meta-theatrical tropes («hybrid theatre», as purported by the ODC Ensemble) emasculate contents over form, showing off an unnecessary bravado (phenomenologically speaking) and thus missing a chance to let words be heard (ontologically speaking).
A shame, really, if one considers the plethora of nifty connections that Elli Papakonstantinou makes between perception and distortion of events, facts and falsehoods, Plato and former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. As Picasso said, «Art is the elimination of the unnecessary», and The Cave is a fair of futilities.
The show was played at
Thessaloniki Concert Hall
25 Martiou & Paralia – Thessaloniki
Tuesday 08 October 2019
the Dimitria Festival presents
The Cave – Το σπήλαιο
by ODC Ensemble
concept, libretto, direction Elli Papakonstantinou
cast Blaine L. Reininger, Anastasia Katsinavaki, Vivi Petsi, Marilena Chrisohoidi, Pantelis Makkas
music composition, orchestration Tilemachos Moussas
video design, real-time video, set and costume design Pantelis Makkas
shadow puppet designer Tassos Konstas
dramaturgical collaboration Stella Rapti, Tanja Diers
assistant director Katerina Drakopoulou
lighting design Olympia Mytilinaiou
music coaching Anastasia Katsinavaki
produced by ODC Ensemble