Polish director shows his original play "Areteia" as part of the project "Odyssey Europa" programmed by RUHR. 2010. European Capital of Culture. Among the invited artists who will try to retell one of the oldest surviving texts in Western culture, Grzegorz Jarzyna is the only one to stage his own text...
photo: Karl-Bernd Karwasz / Schauspiel Essen
The Ruhr is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia comprising 53 municipalities and around 5 million people. It's the first time that the Ruhrgebiet, as it is called, was given the title of the European Capital of Culture as the whole region (along with Istanbul and Pécs). Though for many the immediate conotation with The Ruhr is still its industry, the programme of the RUHR. 2010 is aiming to change it. The motto "Culture through Change, Change through Culture" says it all.
"Oddyssey Europa" is a project involving six European authors whose task is to retell one of the oldest surviving texts in Western culture, Homer's "Odyssey": Grzegorz Jarzyna, Péter Nádas, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Christoph Ransmayr, Roland Schimmelpfennig and Enda Walsh.
It is an adventure novel, heroic epic, love story and family drama all rolled into one. For the six authors from Poland, Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Germany and Turkey, the old question re-emerged: Was Homer an actual historical figure or a group of authors?
Six theatres of the Ruhr District (Bochum, Dortmund, Essen, Moers, Oberhausen, Theater an der Ruhr) collaborate on the project. Among the invited artists, Grzegorz Jarzyna is the only one to stage his own text.
"The reason I'm participating in this project is that it offers a chance to a region which is not wealthy and which reminds me of my native Silesia. It also encourages cultural exchange," says Jarzyna. "While working on the text, I tried to look at the 'The Odyssey' from the perspective of Penelope and Telemachus, Odysseus' wife and son. Ulysses wasn't home for 20 years, however, he spent only ten years at Troy, the rest of this time was spent with Circe and Callypso. Thus, the family reunion is a confrontation of people whose consciousness is totally different, as the time flow was different for Ulysses and for his family. While working on the text, I was inspired by Wyspiański's 'The Return of the Odysseus'."
Polish cast in Areteia will includes Katarzyna Herman, Sandra Korzeniak, Jan Peszek i Marcin Czarnik.
"I'm very fond of projects where one can freely mix up different groups of actors," - said the director. "I think it has interesting consequences for theatrical language, though it is also very difficult. This is so, however, not due to cultural reasons, but rather because of purely linguistic differences."
The premiere performances of shows in Odyssey Europa will be later re-enacted four times on weekends in March, April, and May. The spectators will be encouraged to join the theatrical marathon and peddle between the cities of the District in order to experience the complete "Odyssey".
Program RUHR. 2010 encompasses around 300 projects and 2500 events. Apart from theatre, there will be many art exhibitions, concerts, as well as other events involving photography and performance. Many events will take place in public spaces of the cities which have changed substantially for this reason.
The title of European Capital of Culture has been presented only once to a Polish city - Kraków in 2000. In 2016, it will be given to a city in Poland, and a one in Spain.
- Areteia directed and written by Grzegorz Jarzyna
German translation: Olaf Kühl
scenic design: Magdalena Maciejewska
music: Jacek Grudzień, Andy Manndorff, Piotr Domiński
lights director: Jacqueline Sobiszewski
video: Bartek Macias
dramatist: Rita Czapka, Sabine Reich
cast: Marcin Czarnik, Andreas Grothgar, Jürgen Hartmann, Katarzyna Herman, Sandra Korzeniak, Raiko Küster, Georg Marin, Dietrich Mattausch, Jan Peszek, Kristina-Maria Peters, Krunoslav Šebrek, Stephan Ullrich
premiere: February 27, 2010
next shows: March 6-7, March 13-14, April 2-3, and May 22-23, 2010
Schauspiel Essen in collaboration with TR Warsaw
project: Odyssey Europa
Source: press release, www.schauspiel-essen.de, www.trwarszawa.pl