Ancient tragedy as a rock show. The director Aris Biniaris plugs the Bacchae into the mains and puts the divine Dionysus in front of the mic. You are not just in
Ancient tragedy as a rock show.
The director Aris Biniaris plugs the Bacchae into the mains and puts the divine Dionysus in front of the mic.
You are not just in a theatre. You are in the house of a god. Because Dionysus is the god of the theatre. This god has been insulted. The god avenged himself on his detractors. In this story, you will see a rock hymn to Dionysus, sung by the mystics of the theatre, the actors.
In Bacchae, Euripides recounts the arrival of Dionysus in Thebes in order to enforce his worship, the bacchic rites. King Pentheus rejects his cult. Dionysus claims his revenge. Pentheus meets a horrible death: he is savaged by his own bacchian mother, Agave.
But let us forget Dionysus for a while. Let us talk of a new god. Instead of Pentheus, we have the King. Instead of Agave, the Mother. Instead of Tiresias, the city’s clairvoyant. Let us not talk about Bacchae. Let us talk about the ritualists. Because you are about to attend a ritual.
Part of the ritual is the presentation of a play that comes from the distant past to talk to us about the familiar and the eternal. This work is Euripides’ Bacchae, the only surviving drama with the god of the theatre as protagonist, the only one that speaks to us in such a vibrant tone about agony and rebirth, about the elimination of all contrasts, about ecstasy and absolute transcendence.
On a subversive premise, Aris Biniaris plugs in the Bacchae and propounds a performance like an electrified ritual, with the actors transformed into Dionysus and his bacchian ritualists who, in front of their microphones, will relate like never before the ordeal of Pentheus, the unbelieving king, who was destined to be mauled by his own mother.
The godfighter king’s death we recall
The godfighter king’s death we extol
Lest we share in his torment
(Extracts from the evening programme of The Bacchae at the main stage of the Onassis Cultural Centre/Stegi)
In The Bacchae, Euripides recounts the descent of Dionysus in Thebes, in order to enforce his cult, the Baccheia. King Pentheus repudiates it. Dionysus takes his revenge. Pentheus meets a horrible death at the hands of Agave, his own bacchant mother.
Euripides wrote The Bacchae (407 BCE) in the court of King Archelaus, in the city of Pella in Macedonia, at the advanced age of c. 70. The play was presented after his death by his son or nephew of the same name, and was awarded first prize in the 405 BCE Dionysia.
Direction Aris Biniaris
Produced by Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (2018)
Adaptation based on Yorgos Chimonas’ translation Aris Biniaris, Theodora Kapralou
Dramaturgy Theodora Kapralou
Sets & Costumes Paris Mexis
Lighting Lefteris Pavlopoulos
Original Music written and performed by:
Victor Kouloumpis (electric bass), Panos Sardelis (drums)
Movement Amalia Bennett
Sound Design/Sound Engineer Harris Kremmidas
Producer Manager Maria Dourou
Amalia Bennett, Aris Biniaris, Charis Charalambous, Giorgos Gallos, Anna Kalaitzidou, Karyofyllia Karabeti, Christos Loulis, Onisiforos Onisiforou, Evi Saoulidou, Konstantinos Sevdalis
It is a fervently applauded indisputable artistic success. A remarkably thoughtful approach to the fundamentals of tragedy
Gregory Ioannidis, The Editors’ Newspaper, 26/03/2018
(…) anything but conventional version of Euripides’ Bacchae adapted by Yorgos Chimonas’ translation. An impressive ensemble, superbly coordinated by a firm directorial hand.
Nikos Xenios, bookpress, 22/03/2018
Investigative, pulsating, captivating “Bacchae”.
Maria Kryou, Athenorama, 27/03/2018
Aris Biniaris (director)
Between 1999 and 2005, Aris Biniaris was involved in street theatre, where he incorporated contemporary performing techniques (stilts, fire juggling, street acting). After his leading role in Dimos Avdeliodis’ production of Alexander the Great and the Accursed Dragon in 2007, he directs for the first time and acts in Sophocles’ Antigone (2007-2008) and Euripides’ Bacchae (2010), focusing on the musicality of the ancient Greek language. His production of Yannis Skarimbas’ Holy Goat (2011), a rock music narrative concert performance, was presented in the Athens and Epidaurus Festival. His next work (2015), a rock narrative concert, was ’21, a pastiche of authentic texts from the 1821 Greek Revolution era. He also directed and acted in The Persians for the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (2017). His productions have been presented in the Athens and Epidaurus Festivals, The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, other ancient theatres of Greece and various cities of Cyprus.
His work in the theatre showcases poetic works as both theatrical and musical events, where sound, music, the musicality of language and acting become a vehicle for the audience to understand and actively engage with the meaning of the work. In recent years, he has dealt with a kind of dramaturgy that seeks to foreground issues of personal freedom, social dogmatism and historical memory.
He teaches acting through singing at “Archi” Drama School and in the Quilombo venue.