Hello to Emptiness
Alternative Stage
Hello to Emptiness

Music theatre - MOUVOIR / Stephanie Thiersch / Martha Mavroidi, Mariana Sadovska & friends

16, 17 April 2022
Δημιουργική Ομάδα

Artistic direction, stage design, text;
Stephanie Thiersch 
in collaboration with the ensemble

Composition:
Martha Mavroidi, Mariana Sadovska

Musical direction:
Martha Mavroidi
 

Dramaturg/texts:
Stawrula Panagiotaki

Costume designer:
Lauren Steel

Light design/technical direction
Begoña Garcia Navas

Accompanying expert:
Guy Cools

 

Alternative Stage

Music theatre

Hello to Emptiness

MOUVOIR / Stephanie Thiersch / Martha Mavroidi, Mariana Sadovska & friends

Available Dates

  • 16, 17 Apr 2022

A performance concert

Greek National Opera Alternative Stage
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

A co-production with MOUVOIR (Köln, Germany), Théâtre de Nîmes (France), SIDance – Seoul International Dance Festival (South Korea), tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf, Germany), LOFFT – DAS THEATER, Freihandelszone – Ensemblenetzwerk (Köln, Germany)

Starts at 20.30 (Sunday 19.30)  |   

 

The production is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.

The new interdisciplinary performance – concert Hello to Emptiness will receive its world premiere with two singular performances on the Greek National Opera Alternative Stage at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on 16 and 17 April 2022. Starting from the Greek tradition of moiroloi (dirge, in Greek: speech of fate), Hello to Emptiness researches intercultural ways of managing grief, functions like an echo and dares to imagine a more grounded and human future, and makes tears dance.

Hello to Emptiness is a work with direction, set design and text by the artistic director of MOUVOIR company Stephanie Thiersch, to music composed by Martha Mavroidi and Mariana Sadovska (labelled by critics as the “Ukrainian Björk”), featuring musicians and dancers from Spain and France, as well as the 65+ Choir of the GNO Learning & Participation Department.  The work will run in parallel with the video-installation Voices of Laments that will be held at the lower foyer of Goethe Institut Athen (12-20/4).

Hello to Εmptiness is a co-production of the GNO Alternative Stage with MOUVOIR (Köln, Germany), Théâtre de Nîmes (France), SIDance – Seoul International Dance Festival (South Korea), tanzhaus nrw (Düsseldorf, Germany), LOFFT – DAS THEATER and Freihandelszone – Ensemblenetzwerk (Köln, Germany).

 

All these lost lives are grievable, which means that they are lives worthy of acknowledgment, equal in value to every other life, a value that cannot be calculated.(Judith Butler, “Mourning Is a Political Act”, 2020)

How do we confront the emptiness when fellow humans, landscapes, species and populations disappear or die? How do we see, feel and reflect the void and how do we resonate with the hole their disappearance leaves with us? Most Western societies give little time and space to the experience of death and mourning.

The new interdisciplinary performance-concert Hello to Emptiness focuses on re-inventing lost strategies to cope with the void. It is a performative reflection on social vulnerability and questions how to deal with grief, currently charged by the pandemic and humanitarian crisis.

Hello to Emptiness is performed with hybrid artist bodies, singing dancers and dancing singers, to emphasize the deep relation between body, voice and breath. At the beginning of the research conducted by the creators lies the Greek tradition of moiroloi (Greek: speech of fate), an age-old pagan tradition that is not only devoted to dialogue with the deceased, but also applied to communication with nature, employing sounds that imitate animals and natural elements.

Five international artists with an interdisciplinary background, led by the director Stephanie Thiersch (whose work is intensely involved with questions of social responsibility and utopian designs of future societies), the versatile Greek composer, singer and performer Martha Mavroidi and the popular Ukrainian singer and composer Mariana Sadovska, who creates a fusion of folk and contemporary sound, put together their personal and subjective knowledge about cultural techniques rooted in different cultural backgrounds (Greece, France, Germany, Ukraine, Spain). Alongside them, Spanish dancer Juan Kruz Díaz de Garaio Esnaola, French dancer Julien Ferranti, and French dancer, singer and musician Manon Parent. With their knowledge of different cultural techniques, the contributing artists combine songs and rites from the Balkans and other regions to create an evening that traces the intimacy and, at the same time, the communal and unifying nature of the laments.

Martha Mavroidi notes: The idea of ‘loss’ is closely related to the idea of ‘time’. The vanishing of a person, a landscape or a species is a moment of realization of the passing of time. Art has the power to mediate the great unanswered questions (aporias) such as ‘what is time?’ by making the question itself meaningful. Music as the art of time restructures our experience of time. It provides a sonar response to the puzzling questions, thus creating a new meaning for the feeling of loss. Our voices are a testament to our presence in the here and now. But at the same time, they carry the wage of memory, of all that has been experienced. By unweaving the thread of traditional vocal expressions of grief, we will try to ‘crack open’ the essence of human expression.”

At the same time, the 65+ Chorus of the GNO Learning & Participation Department acts as a resonance body of the past (and the future), spinning cultural-historical threads and contextualizing the acting of the performers. Starting from the recovery of historical, diverse practices, the production strives to give birth to possibilities for future application, rededication and contextualization of the existing funeral songs and traditional rituals that inform it, putting their meaning, impact and form into a perspective both artistic and utopian.

 

Parallel event:
Voices of Laments
Video-installation
In collaboration with Goethe-Institut Athen
GOETHE 70Y LOGO

 

Hello to Emptiness will run in parallel with the video-installation Voices of Laments that will be held at the lower foyer of Goethe-Institut Athen (14-16 Omirou St (106 72, Athens) from 12 to 20 April 2022. Admission will be free.

The installation Voices of Laments interweaves audiovisual documentary material from different regions of the world (Greece, Korea, Kenya, Brazil) in collaboration with local actors (the “satellites”). These artistic satellites form independent research and production cells with jointly defined questions. Voices of Laments is a structural attempt to develop international models of cooperation at eye level, with which its creators support the approach to a common world mourning.

Visiting hours: Monday – Thursday: 9.00 – 20.00, Friday: 9.00 – 16.00, Saturday: 9.00 – 14.00

 

 

Supported by the residency programme of HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts (Dresden, Germany)

With the support of the NATIONALE PERFORMANCE NETZ Koproduktionsförderung Tanz, funded by Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien; the Kunststiftung NRW; the Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Kulturamt der Stadt Köln

The Voices of Laments video installation is funded by the Goethe-Institut Kenia and Goethe-Institut Athen. 

Director's Note