content="Theseus, performance, Leda Shantala, Shantala, India, Bharata Natyam, India, classical Indian dance, Greece, Greek, myth, Dance Theatre">



THESEUS (1987)

   

 


CAST & CREW

Script:

Leda Shantala

Narrator voice:
Leda Shantala

Choreography:
The Dhananjayans,
Smt Kalanidhi Narayanan,
Leda Shantala

Music Composers:
Shanta Dhananjayan,
T.K. Padmanabhan
Recorded in a studio in Chennai, India

Scenic designer:

Kostas Mathioudakis,
Manos Parmaxizoglou

Costume design:
Leda Shantala

Costumes:
Gopal

Props:
Caterina Varvaressou, Manos Parmaxizoglou

Mask:

Nandan of
Chollamandalam

Lighting designer:

Leda Shantala

Performers:
Leda Shantala,
Philippa Lelouda,
Yannis Papanikolaou


About

A Greek/Indian production based on Theseus's fable, which combines the well-known ancient Greek myth and modern Greek prose with the expressive tools of the Indian classical dance Bharata Natyam.
Leda Shandala dances the poetic text is written and recited by Leda Shantala, the choreographer and dancer, while the musical pieces were composed specially for this performance.
The artist plays two different roles: narrator/storyteller and dancer.
The narrator, wearing a neutral white mask, narrates the story through ritualistic movements, while the dancer, with lyricism and dynamic tension, delves into the poetic essence of the text. She dances the ancient myth through the expressive language of hand mudras and facial expressions. Between episodes there are dancing interludes combining rhythmical footwork and geometric figures.
"It's such a pity that we cannot understand the meaning of what is shown!". "We miss the keys to understand it". "It's a beautiful dance, yet at some point we didn't know what was happening".
It is true that Bharata Natyam is a multi-faceted art, which combines the storyteller's talent, the actor's play, the dancer's virtuosistic technique, the poetic expression of mime, the exuberance of movement, the dynamics and intricacy of rhythms, with an ineffable sense of beauty.
To make this whole world more understandable, there are two types of "obstacles" to be surmounted.
Firstly, the fact that Western audiences are not familiar with the themes of Indian dance, which is based on myths well-known to Indians, because they are part of their tradition. Secondly, the fact that they don't understand the symbolic hand gestures.
This performance tries to find solutions to these two difficulties, by providing the European public some of the informations which are already available to an Indian person, so that this art form can touch it, bypassing the problem of "language".
The texts were written by Leda Shantala, based on the Greek myth of Theseus. Myths have no nationality, they belong to the whole humanity, and derive their nourishment from the same roots.
The music was written especially for this production and performed on traditional South Indian instruments. The costumes were also made in India, and they are a unique blend of Indian and ancient Greek elements.


Synopsis


Part 1

Invocation to Theseus, the mythical hero who symbolizes the path towards inner freedom.
Aegeus meets Aethra in the land of Troizina.
Birth of Theseus.
The young hero performs his first feats. Theseus travels towards Athens. He successfully fights brigands and various beasts who terrorized the inhabitants. In the palace, Medea tries to poison him, but Aegeus recognizes Theseus as his son.

Part 2
Birth of the Minotaur.
King Minos of Crete demands Athenian youths to feed the Minotaur, half bull-half human. Among the youths is Theseus. Theseus and Minos fight each other in the boat leading them to Crete.
Theseus dives into Poseidon's watery realm to retrieve his lost ring.
In Crete, Ariadne falls in love with Theseus and gives him the yarn which will guide him out of the labyrinth.
Theseus kills the Minotaur. He goes back to Athens, after abandoning Ariadne at the island of Naxos.

Aegeus, wrongly believing his son is dead, hurls himself from a rock into the sea. Theseus is made king of Athens.

VIDEO OF THE PERFORMANCE

 




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