Propelled by a wind turbine, strange fauna led by the incomparable Euripides Laskaridis take the spectator into a world out of time, suspended between dreams and the end of ideals.
A world out of time, suspended between dreams and the end of ideals. Propelled by a wind turbine, a parade of strange characters and a prehistoric beast gravitate around a smoke-spewing creature. After Titans and its astounding success at the FTA in 2018, the incomparable Greek performer Euripides Laskaridis enchants once again with his eccentric imagination in this fantastic fable about the grandeur and flaws of humanity.
Strewn with scraps of sheet metal, the stage becomes a place for bizarre apparitions freely inspired by Laskaridis’ personal mythology. Attended by fantastical fauna, the fabulous performer is transformed into an otherworldly figure – profoundly human, benignly cruel. Swept away by an irrational wind, Elenit thrusts the spectator into a burlesque tale where chaos rules supreme. A combat in the present, before we disappear.
Produced by Onassis Stegi-Athens
Conceived and directed by Euripides Laskaridis
Performed by Amalia Kosma + Chara Kotsali + Manos Kotsaris + Euripides Laskaridis + Thanos Lekkas + Dimitris Matsoukas + Efthimios Moschopoulos + Giorgos Poulios + Michalis Valasoglou + Fay Xhuma
Costume Design Angelos Mentis
Music and Sound Design Giorgos Poulios
Set Design Loukas Bakas
Lighting Design Eliza Alexandropoulou
Dramaturgy Consultant Alexandros Mistriotis
Associate Movement Director Nikos Dragonas
Assistant Director Geli Kalampaka
Composer Assistant Jeph Vanger
Costume Design and Special Constructions Assistant Ioanna Plessa
Artistic Collaborator – Special Constructions Anna Papathanasiou
Costume Design Assistant Aella Tsilikopoulou
Set Design Assistant Filanthi Bougatsou
Stage Manager and Set Design Assistant Dinos Nikolaou
Technical Director Konstantinos Margas
Rehearsal Light Technicians Vasilis Zidros, Tzanos Mazis, Giorgos Antonopoulos
Lighting Console Programmer Giorgos Melissaropoulos
Sound Engineers Kostis Pavlopoulos, Kostas Michopoulos
Production Manager Rena Andreadaki
Project Manager and Tour Production Simona Fremder
Osmosis Operations Coordinator TooarEastProductions
Produced with the support of Fondation d’entreprise Hermès (Paris) within the framework of the New Settings Program
Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + Théâtre de la Ville (Paris) + Teatro della Pergola (Florence) + Pôle européen de création – Ministère de la Culture/Maison de la Danse en soutien à la Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2020 + Teatro Municipal do Porto + Les Halles de Schaerbeek (Brussels) + Teatre Lliure (Barcelona) + Malraux. Scène Nationale Chambéry-Savoie + Théâtre de Liège + Julidans (Amsterdam) + Bonlieu Scène Nationale Annecy
With the support of Fondation d’entreprise Hermès (Paris) within the framework of the New Settings Program
In collaboration with ICI–Centre Chorégraphique National Montpellier-Occitanie
In association with EdM Productions + Rial&Eshelman
Financed by Ministère de la Culture et des Sports (Athènes)
Presented by HAVAS Montréal in association with Place des Arts
Written by Elsa Pépin
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at Onassis Stegi, Athens, on Novembre 28, 2019
Euripides Laskaridis (Athens) Osmosis
A revelation on the new Greek performing arts scene, the choreographer and performer Euripides Laskaridis began his career in 1995 and has collaborated with many different artists, including Robert Wilson and Dimitris Papaioannou.
Aiming for a flamboyant and more visual theatre, he has been creating his own stage and film works since 2000. He founded his company Osmosis in 2009 during the Greek financial crisis.
An extraordinary creator of characters, Laskaridis dresses up to transform his body into a theatre where gods, monsters, humans and machines come together in a mélange of circus, theatre and dance. Laskaridis received the Pina Bausch Fellowship in 2016, which allowed him to observe the director and choreographer Lemi Ponifasio at work in New Zealand and Chile.
His 2014 solo piece Relic was presented at some twenty international festivals. It features an artificial transgendered body, a grotesque creature parachuted into domestic life. He continued to pursue his exploration of transformation and the ridiculous in Titans, which attracted a lot of attention at the FTA in 2017.
Decked out in costumes and prostheses, he created a celestial world predating the gods. Laskaridis and his company Osmosis are back with Elenit, a piece featuring ten characters. It is the third part of a trilogy on the human condition, on the limits of our ideals, our perpetually evolving selves.
How is Elenit a continuation of your artistic approach in Relic (2015) and Titans, which was presented at the FTA in 2018?
It feels like these three pieces could possibly form a trilogy in many respects.
Elenit can be seen an extension of the first two, while it surely adopts the same vocabulary. I started from domestic life (Relic), moved on to a celestial world (Titans) and now arrive at Elenit at the everlasting now, when the urgency of the present talks about the past as much as the future.
It is not the “now” of 2020, but that of a much bigger, undefined universe that can be viewed as an eternal present. After the solo Relic and the duo Titans, I wanted a larger group of creatures on stage, so there are ten in Elenit.
I once again embody a strange creature but this time I am surrounded by a group of unique characters that propel and dictate a particular universe: the sets, costumes, lighting and sound. We make use of many recycled objects to create an imaginary world that can be seen as terrestrial or not.
The title refers to a material long used in construction but no more, because it poses a danger to human health. How did you become interested in this material?
My father is an architect and for a long time I myself thought of becoming one, until the day I discovered theatre.
I’ve always been fascinated by construction and design, imagining a space and its relation to materials. I used to accompany my father to construction sites and ask questions about the materials. I remember as a child I was attracted to these corrugated metal sheets often used for roofing but also for many other purposes.
On the Greek island where I come from, which is not rich and does not attract tourists, that cheap, long-lasting metal sheeting was used in all sorts of building and construction. As a child I was intrigued because I saw it everywhere, torn off buildings, strewn in fields and in vacant lots. It was not a natural material like wood or stone, but it was part of the landscape, as though it had always been there.
My father mistakenly called it “elenit”.This was a similar material made broadly in the 1970s, a mix of cement and asbestos which was soon discovered, that it was harmful to human health. In some countries it was even called Eternit indicating that this material would live for ever. Instead, the material was prohibited and people who lived under that roofing died of cancer, and it became difficult to get rid of.
I find it very appropriate to have as the name of my show a word that is based on a misunderstanding and that is also linked to my relationship with my father! That becomes an anchor point in my heritage and personal mythology, as well as a reflection of the short-circuits of transmission and the myths that we take for truth.
What drove you to discuss in this piece our complex relationship with progress, the environmental challenges we face and the perseverance of humanity?
People who see a wind turbine and sheet metal roofing onstage are sure to make a connection to ecology. To tell the truth, I used a wind turbine because I thought it would fit the universe of this strange new creature and to suggest a force that drives the theatrical machine for the duration of the show.
I knew this piece wanted to play with the idea of big spectacles and that this was a piece that was self conscious of it being of a larger scale.
There were already ten characters in it and it was going to be for larger theatres and audiences so inspiration obviously would come from larger spectacles such as opera, ballet, Broadway musical, ancient Greek tragedy, the circus, even the big clubs.
A big set piece could now move from my imagination to the stage nevertheless the wind turbine was never a conscious choice in order for the work to make a comment on the environmental challenges. I hope it can be that and much more in the work.
As a political creature, very much conscious of our shortcomings as a species, I have always been interested in how the human brain functions when it encounters obstacles. I find it surprising that in the 21st century we are very conscious of the inequalities in the world yet are incapable of resolving the issue.
Humanity has conquered great spiritual grounds, we only need to look at philosophy and religion, the Bible, Buddha, Confucius etc. It aims for an ideal but in fact has little power to achieve that goal. We are confronted with our limits in terms of addressing ecological or socio-economic problems.
It is human nature that fascinates me, its strangeness, its great powers and weaknesses! How we want to be the best we possibly can and yet we are faced with our countless limitations. This is our fate and it is very ironic… and that is why it moves me so much.
“It looks like nothing you’ve seen so far […] It’s the craziest thing you’ve ever watched and yet it makes sense. And it makes you laugh.”
Athens Voice (Grèce), 07-12-2019
“The unfamiliar and ‘lovable’ monster that Laskaridis creates, stands at the verge of an idealism, far from anything that the modern audience is familiar with.”
“This performance – neurotic and comic, tragic and sarcastic – continues to add words to the vocabulary and language created by Euripides Laskaridis, a language that is obscure yet familiar, remote yet moving […] A magnificent gesture towards the understanding of a monstrous world”
Elculture.gr (Grèce), 28-11-2019
“Quite simply another world. Absolutely mesmerising […] Unique”
To Tetarto Koudouni (Grèce)
“The work is an absurd journey: phantasmagoric and ridiculous, enigmatic and disquieting. A journey through landscapes that bleed one into another without explanation, in a world made of ruins that nevertheless still stands – and captivates.”
I Kathimerini (Grèce)
“An utterly controlled and dazzling aesthetic. One that does not seek to signify or to explain and yet disarms you, wins you over…”
I Efimerida ton Syntakton (Grèce)
“Laskaridis brings excess and caricature, buffoonery and scandalous vulgarity that echo the slip-ups and gaffes of burlesque or drag.”