Technoid love letters for ancient heroines after Sappho, Ovid, Euripides et al.
Strobe lights are used in this production.
«Maybe if we still had all of Sappho’s poems, no one would talk about Homer any more,» Friedrich Schlegel once wrote about Sappho, the leading female poet of the ancient world. Barely two hundred fragments survive from her collected works that comprised some twelve thousand verses, with the result that her name is now associated more with Grillparzer’s tragedy than her own passionate, monumental hymns in praise of life, love and women.
The director Elsa-Sophie Jach, who recently made her debut at the Residenztheater with her production of Herbert Achternbusch’s «Heart of Glass», brings the outrageous love poetry of «Europe’s first poet» to new life. Known for a directing style characterised by precise language and strong visuals, she hunts down the forgotten remains of Sappho’s poems, condenses them into a chorus and, on a tour through the literary canon together with the Munich techno live band SLATEC, she exposes the systematic erasure of the female voice, its silencing and the need for it to empower itself.
«There are countless female figures in ancient mythology who lose their voices violently for rejecting a desire that is usually divine and usually male – and then raise those voices again all the more triumphantly: Echo, who is actually only allowed to repeat the final syllables of what has already been said, changes their meaning through her choice of words, and this continues to reverberate inside our heads. Cassandra, who prophecies the fall of Troy and whose prophecies no one believes. Philomela, whose tongue is cut out so that she cannot tell that she has been raped, but instead weaves the story into a carpet, making it both public and political. We want to celebrate these outrageous women in the love letters by Sappho that we have developed further, we want to challenge and summon them, ask them new questions and connect them with our reality. In a chorus and with music. Just like in ancient times. Only differently.» Elsa-Sophie Jach