Not I
Alternative Stage
Not I

Events - Samuel Beckett / Zesses Seglias / Savvas Stroumpos

February - March 2023
Δημιουργική Ομάδα

Greek translation: 
Thomas Symeonidis

Music:
Zesses Seglias

Conductor
Nicolas Vassiliou

Stage director:
Savvas Stroumpos

Sets, costumes
Katerina Papageorgiou

Lighting design
Kostas Bethanis 

 

Πρωταγωνιστές Παράστασης

Cast: Elli Ingliz, Evelyn Assouad, Babis Alefantis  

 

With the participation of a 9-member instrumental ensemble

 

 

 

Ticket prices:: 15€, 20€
Students, children: 10€

Alternative Stage

Events

Not I

Samuel Beckett / Zesses Seglias / Savvas Stroumpos

Available Dates

  • 18, 19, 24, 25 Feb 2023
  • 02, 03 Mar 2023

Theatre 

Commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage

Greek National Opera Alternative Stage
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

In co-production with the Zero Point theatre company

Starts at 20.30 (Sunday: 19.30)  |   

simeio miden

 

 

Samuel Beckett’s torrential monologue Not I (1972), one of the most demoniac and demanding pieces of world theatre, is coming to the Greek National Opera Alternative Stage at the SNFCC for a run of six performances, from 18 February to 3 March 2023, in co-production with the Zero Point theatre company.

This new reading of one of the most emblematic works of the post-war period, commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage from avant-garde composer Zesses Seglias and director Savvas Stroumpos, a persistent and uncompromising labourer of a theatre of research, is pitted against the limits of an intractable enigma, but is also faced with a rousing challenge.

In the two artists’ bold approach, the Beckettian sonic and semantic “abyss” is not rendered through a mouth like in the original play, but through two bodies in vocal and spatial counterpoint, highly abstract and condensed at the same time. The new translation, prepared especially for the production, bears the stamp of Thomas Symeonidis, distinguished connoisseur of Samuel Beckett. Nicolas Vassiliou, known for his performances of contemporary music works, conducts. With the participation of a nine-member instrumental ensemble.

 

The play

Written in 1972 for the actress Billie Whitelaw, Samuel Beckett’s Not I is the verbal torrent coming out of a woman in the wake of a traumatic event, inscribed in the body and repressed by the mind for years. Through his abstract stage poetics, the Irish dramaturg captures the torrential logorrhea coming out of a floating woman’s Mouth in the aftermath of an unspecified traumatic event, under the gaze of a mysterious, featureless Auditor. In its bare theatrical rendition, the monologue’s running time is just fifteen minutes, while the author’s direction is that the actress should deliver it in one breath. The work premiered at the Forum Theater of Lincoln Center, New York, in 1972 and, in every respect, physical, intellectual or emotional, it is one of the most demanding monologues in world theatre.

 

Zero Point theatre company in the “Beckettian universe”

The Zero Point theatre company started exploring Samuel Beckett’s world in 2017 on the occasion of their staging of Waiting for Godot. The production was presented at Attis Theatre – New Space (2018/2019). Just a year later it was followed by the play Happy Days starring the great actress Aneza Papadopoulou, who recently passed away. In both these productions of Beckett’s classics, the actors’ musicality, rhythm and activated physicality were the main components of the work of the Zero Point theatre company that uses the famous Theodoros Terzopoulos’ Method for training its actors and developing its creative process. “To us the text was a landscape of innumerable expressive possibilities; we could mine them only so long as we worked with the music and not with the concepts, going beyond all kinds of representation of the everyday life – which, in all respects, does not exist in Beckett –, and all effort to dramatically capture the events mentioned in the text on stage. We treated the text as a living score. In the spaces between words and/or meanings we found hidden sonic/energy axes. The more we tried to listen to them, the more we were being led to new ways to exist on the stage, to produce the sound and deliver the speech”, notes Savvas Stroumpos.

 

Not I as contemporary music theatre on the GNO Alternative Stage

Composer Zesses Seglias’ and director Savvas Stroumpos’ production that is to be presented on the GNO Alternative Stage, in a translation by Thomas Symeonidis and conducted by Nicolas Vassiliou, approaches Beckett’s material as a peculiar, contemporary music theatre that explores the limits of theatrical potential. Sounds, images and gestures, seemingly trapped in a mouth that uncontrollably blurts out words, open the theatrical and musical space to get themselves rearranged into a hybrid work of speech, sound and movement.

Instead of a mouth, two bodies in vocal and spatial counterpoint, two voices from the same core bring out the Beckettian abyss, which remains condensed, although, for a moment, it occupies a timeless space, with the orchestra offering it a beat without a direction, sound without a cause, depth without limits.

 

The musical challenge of Not I

The demanding musical score of the production bears the stamp of Zesses Seglias, whose work focuses on the relationship between sound and the semantics of the voice and the unification of musical language with speech. Regarding his work on Samuel Beckett’s play, the composer notes: “In the end, the musical dimension in Not I is but an expansion of the space, where this meta-mouth is seated. In the original, we have a mouth and a silent Auditor-figure in the absolute darkness, the absolute abyss, the nowhere; in our reading, we keep the circumstance as is, not on its surface but in its core. What changes through this musico-theatrical, physical and dramaturgical work is the space that surrounds this circumstance, as, in our effort to grasp Beckett, inevitably –  but also in vain – this space reveals its multiple dimensions”.

 

Directing Not I as a crater with two bodies

The director and founder of the Zero Point theatre company Savvas Stroumpos, known for his seriοus, collective, workshop work on texts and the expressive means of actors, to which he has been faithfully devoted for years now, notes: “In our performance of Not I, the mouth’s role is performed by two actresses with whom he have been working together for nine years: Elli Iggliz and Evelyn Assouad. They are two excellent collaborators, with a long stage experience with the Zero Point theatre company and in facing performing challenges that often exceed the limits of what is humanly possible. The role of the figure is performed by Babis Alefantis, another excellent actor with whom we have been collaborating over the last years. The two women belong to the same body. They emerge from a crater, creating the circumstances of a strange, contemporary and wounded Prometheus. The concept of the stage installation was developed by my co-worker, scenographer and costume designer Katerina Papageorgiou. The lighting of the world of the Beckettian explosion of the memory was created by my steady collaborator, ever since the foundation of the Zero Point theatre company in 2008, Kostas Bethanis”.